Cologne relegated, Hamburg stays alive in Bundesliga
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 29, 2018 08:31 AM
From left, Hamburg's Albin Ekdal, Lewis Holtby and Dennis Diekmeier celebrate after the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Hamburger SV in Wolfsburg, Germany, Saturday, April 28, 2018. Hamburg defeated Wolfsburg by 3-1. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
By Ciaran Fahey, Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — Cologne was finally relegated from the Bundesliga on Saturday, and Hamburger SV boosted its chances of an unlikely escape with a 3-1 win at Wolfsburg.
Lucas Hoeler scored in injury time for Freiburg to beat Cologne 3-2 to leave the visitors eight points from safety with two games remaining.
"It was a difficult game, emblematic of the whole season," Cologne coach Stefan Ruthenbeck said. "The last goal cannot happen so easily in a relegation battle. That's exactly how you get relegated."
Cologne had shown signs of life in recent games but it was too little, too late after losing 13 of its opening 16 games. The first of its five wins came at the 17th attempt.
Goalkeeper Timo Horn, who saved a penalty from Freiburg's Christian Guenter, and captain Jonas Hector both extended their contracts last week, signaling their intent to help the side return to the top flight under new coach Markus Anfang, who is joining from promotion-chasing Holstein Kiel.
'DINOSAUR' CLINGS ON
Hamburg, the only side to have played every Bundesliga since the league's formation in 1963, has had several near misses with relegation in recent years.
Known as "der Dino" for its longevity, Hamburg is playing its worst season yet, but its third win in four games closes the gap on Wolfsburg and survival to just two points with two games remaining.
Bobby Wood broke the deadlock from the penalty spot minutes before the break. It was the American striker's first goal since the second round on Aug. 25.
Tatsuya Ito, who had been fouled for the penalty, then sent in a cross for Lewis Holtby to make it 2-0 in first-half injury time.
Josip Brekalo pulled one back with a harmless-looking free kick, but Luca Waldschmidt smashed home a rebound after Koen Casteels saved Filip Kostic's penalty in injury time.
It was only Waldschmidt's second goal for Hamburg. His first was against Wolfsburg on the final day last season to save Hamburg from the relegation playoff.
KOVAC AT BAYERN
Eintracht Frankfurt coach Niko Kovac got a look at his future workplace but couldn't prevent Bayern Munich's understrength team winning 4-1. Kovac is taking over as Bayern coach next season.
Niklas Dorsch scored on his Bundesliga debut before the break. Meritan Shabani and Franck Evina also made their Bundesliga debuts for Bayern. Coach Jupp Heynckes rested most of his regulars for Tuesday's Champions League semifinal second leg at Real Madrid.
Bayern needs to overturn a 2-1 deficit to keep its hopes of a treble alive.
Frankfurt faces Bayern again in the German Cup final on May 19.
LEVERKUSEN LOSES AGAIN
Bayer Leverkusen's Champions League hopes took a blow in losing to Stuttgart 1-0 with captain Christian Gentner scoring on Tayfun Korkut's return as coach.
Leverkusen's second straight defeat allowed Hoffenheim to move to fourth and the last Champions League qualification place with two rounds remaining.
Also, Hertha Berlin drew against visiting Augsburg 2-2, while 10-man Schalke drew at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-1.