After his first win in 22 games as a head coach, Alexander Nouri opted for two alterations following victory over Paderborn. Peter Pekarik dropped out of the squad and Per Ciljan Skjelbred to the bench, as Marius Wolf and Marko Grujic found place in the starting side.
Markus Gisdol made three changes to the team that were beaten by Bayern Munich on Sunday. Sebastiaan Bornauw (suspended), Noah Katterbach (injured) and Dominick Drexler (bench) were replaced by Toni Leistner, Benno Schmitz and Florian Kainz. Gisdol was forced into another change in the warm-up, as muscular problems forced Jonas Hector out. Elvis Rexhbecaj took his place.
Perfect start for FC
Just four minutes were on the clock when a superb counter attack opened the scoring for FC. Elvis Rexhbecaj won the ball back midway inside the defensive half and led the breakaway. He found Florian Kainz, and the Austrian fed Jhon Cordoba. He went through on goal and, thanks to a deflection from Santiago Ascacibar, saw his shot loop into the back of the net.
FC continued to push forward, with Rune Jarstein having to be alert to deny Rafael Czichos after a series of FC corners. The pressure continued as the Norwegian stopper turned away a powerful Florian Kainz volley. At the other end, Timo Horn was quick to show his credentials after a vital intervention to keep Maximilian Mittelstädt’s cross away from the oncoming attackers.
While Hertha were threatened to build up a head of steam, FC struck on the counter once more. This time it was Mark Uth who started the move, and Ismail Jakobs who made waves down the left-hand side. His cross was inch-perfect, and met by the flying Jhon Cordoba for his second goal of the game. The Colombian almost had a third, but for a last-ditch sliding tackle from the Hertha backline.
Just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any better, it did. Jhon Cordoba danced around the Berliners’ box before teeing up Florian Kainz, who hammered at goal. His effort came off Jarstein, the post and then the Norwegian before finding a way in. While initially chalked off for offside, VAR correctly awarded the goal. Unfortunately, there was one negative to the first-half. Rafael Czichos suffered a nasty head injury and after several minutes of treatment, was carried off and transported to hospital.
Second half keeps getting better
Hertha made two changes to start the second half, as Dodi Lukebakio and Vladimir Darida came on for Matheus Cunha and Arne Maier. Florian Kainz fired wide with a back post volley, as FC looked to find another goal. However, the hosts were keen to get a route back into the game and Marko Grujic brought a stunning save from Timo Horn moments later.
Despite the Hertha pressure, FC killed the game off in the 62nd minute. It was another fine counter attack that did the job, as Elvis Rexhbecaj came forward and laid off to Florian Kainz. There was no pressure from the home backline, as he ran through and slotted calmly past the oncoming Jarstein to notch up his second goal of the game.
That was not all for Markus Gisdol’s men, however. A free-kick in a dangerous position was lined up by both Florian Kainz and Mark Uth, but it was the later who fired an arrow into the top corner. Cue wild celebrations in the away end, and with the players themselves.
The remainder of the game brought more chances for FC, who were unfortunate not to find a sixth goal. Gisdol’s side are next in action on Saturday evening, as they welcome Schalke 04 to the RheinEnergieSTADION.
Hertha BSC (3-5-2): Jarstein – Stark, Boyata, Rekik – Wolf, Grujic, Maier (Darida 46’), Ascacibar, Mittelstädt – Cunha (Lukebakio 46’), Piatek.
1. FC Köln (4-2-3-1): Horn – Ehizibue, Leistner, Czichos (Meré 45’), Schmitz – Skhiri, Rexhbecaj – Kainz, Uth, Jakobs (Höger 78’) – Cordoba (Terodde 73’).
Goals: 0:1, Cordoba 4‘. 0:2, Cordoba 22‘. 0:3, Kainz 39’. 0:4, Kainz 62’. 0:5, Uth 70‘.
Referee: Daniel Schlager (Hügelsheim).
Bookings: Stark (45+2’), Meré (55‘), Ascacibar (69’), Rexhbecaj (77‘).