FC head coach, Markus Gisdol made just one change from the team that were beaten by Borussia Dortmund at the weekend. That saw Dominick Drexler replace Jan Thielmann on the right-hand side.
As for SC Freiburg and Christian Streich, they were also hoping to bounce back from defeat and opted for a single alteration from the team that were defeated by SC Paderborn. Amir Abrashi dropped to the bench in place of Niclas Höfler.
FC had an early opening through Sebastiaan Bornauw, as he rose highest to meet Mark Uth’s strong free-kick. However, his header was wide at the back post. Freiburg responded in kind from a set-piece of their own, as Manuel Gulde struck the bar with a powerful headed effort. The game continued to go back and forth, with Dominick Drexler looking lively on the right-hand side.
FC went closer again when Jhon Cordoba leapt high to meet Kingsley Ehizibue’s cross from the right hand side, only to see it go agonisingly wide. The disappointment would only be momentary. From a corner, Rafael Czichos was brilliantly denied by Alexander Schwolow and more pinball followed suit. Thankfully for FC, Sebastiaan Bornauw was on hand to prod the ball home.
Markus Gisdol’s men did have Timo Horn to thank for two fine saves before the break, especially that from Chang-hoon Kwon. The FC stopper did brilliantly to deny the South Korean’s excellent volley. With Freiburg ending stongly, it was still FC who would end strongest. Some superb team pressing ended with Jhon Cordoba going through on goal, but Robin Koch did just enough to put him off.
The second half began as the first ended, with FC trying to make strides for a second. While they had to be wary of the Freiburg counter, that would be the case 10 minutes into the second period. After a clever piece of play in the middle, Jonas Hector was denied by Schwolow. On the spot and ready to tap in, however, was Jhon Cordoba. The Colombian wheeled away after yet another home goal.
Mark Uth almost added a second immediately afterwards, yet Schwolow was up to the task. Bornauw headed narrowly over as he threatened to add to his tally once more. Freiburg’s chances were few and far between as they worked away at trying to get forward.
The end of the game couldn’t have gone any better. FC struck twice in the final few minutes to lift the roof off the RheinEnergieSTADION. Kingsley Ehizibue had a fine game and was able to cap it off with a mazy run and cool finish to score his first goal for the club. Two minutes later, Mark Uth sent Ismail Jakobs through, and he powered past Schwolow to add the cherry on the icing on top of the cake.
1. FC Köln remain 14th but are now six points clear of the relegation play-off places. Markus Gisdol’s men take on Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Derby next Sunday at Borussia-Park.
1. FC Köln (4-2-3-1): Horn – Ehizibue, Bornauw, Czichos, Katterbach (Schmitz 46’) – Skhiri, Hector – Drexler (Kainz 89’), Uth, Jakobs – Cordoba (Terodde 81’).
SC Freiburg (3-4-3): Schwolow – Gulde, Koch, Heintz – Schmid, Haberer (Waldschmidt 46‘), Höfler, Günter – Haberer, Petersen (Sallai 68‘), Höler.
Goals: 1:0, Bornauw 30’. 2:0, Cordoba 55’. 3:0, Ehizibue 90+1’. 4:0, Jakobs 90+3’.
Referee: Dr. Robert Kampka (Mainz).
Bookings: Jakobs (12‘), Cordoba (20‘), Uth (50‘), Höfler (62‘).
Attendance: 50,000 (sold-out).