Markus Gisdol made just one alteration to the side that beat Werder Bremen before the Winter Break. Mark Uth made his first start for FC, replacing Dominick Drexler in attacking midfield.
For Oliver Glasner, he opted for three changes from the defeat to Bayern Munich in December. Joao Victor, Renato Steffen and Felix Klaus dropped to the bench for Josip Brekalo, Daniel Ginczek and Wout Weghorst in a new-look front line.
Wolfsburg started the game the better of the two sides and should have been ahead after several early chances. Weghorst headed over inside the first 15 seconds before being sent one-on-one with Timo Horn not long after. Thankfully for FC, Timo Horn made an impressive, sprawling save. Sebastiaan Bornauw also had to be alert to clear Xaver Schlager’s cross inside the first 10 minutes.
However, from there, FC began to come into the game. Mark Uth was showing a fine few touches of the ball, as was Noah Katterbach – the young left-back’s impressive run had the fans off their seats for the first time in the game. However, it was Uth who was key to the breakthrough. His superb free-kick was met by Jhon Cordoba, who headed home to score in his fifth home game in a row.
The chances continued to flow, as Mark Uth and Jonas Hector both went close. Jhon Cordoba was stopped just as he was about to pull the trigger when through on goal, though he didn’t have to wait long for a second. After a poor pass from Marcel Tisserand, Ellyes Skhiri pounced to send Cordoba through on goal. He didn’t hesitated and fired into the far corner to double the lead.
Jonas Hector almost gave FC a third to start the second half, only to see his effort turned around the far post by Koen Casteels. Daniel Ginczek gave Markus Gisdol’s men a scare when he brought another fine save out of Timo Horn on the counter. Xaver Schlager also fired narrowly over, in what was an even first 15 minutes.
That would all turn when Mark Uth’s set-pieces made the difference once more. His corner was flicked on by Rafael Czichos, and headed in by a completely free Jonas Hector at the back post. He and the FC fans could hardly believe their luck as he stood in acres of space. That joy would initially be short-lived, when Renato Steffen rolled home less than five minutes later.
The remainder of the game was back and forth, with both teams having chances to add to their tallies. However, some more excellent goalkeeping from Timo Horn kept FC’s two-goal lead in tact. Dogged defending and gritty tackles were enough to see all three points remain in Köln after a superb turnaround following a difficult beginning.
1. FC Köln are now 13th in the table after the win and will head to Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening on Matchday 19.
1. FC Köln (4-2-3-1): Horn – Ehizibue, Bornauw, Czichos, Katterbach – Skhiri, Hector – Thielmann (Drexler 73’), Uth (Risse 78’), Jakobs – Cordoba (Modeste 88’).
VfL Wolfsburg (4-3-3): Casteels – Mbabu, Brooks, Tisserand, Roussillon – Schlager, Guilavogui (Mehmedi 86’), Arnold – Ginczek (Steffen 57’), Weghorst, Brekalo (Joao Victor 77’).
Goals: 1:0, Cordoba 23’. 2:0, Cordoba 45+2’. 3:0, Hector 62’. 3:1, Steffen 66’.
Referee: Marco Fritz (Korb).
Bookings: Brooks (19’), Schlager (25’), Thielmann (66’), Hector (81’), Weghorst (90’).