Cologne, Stuttgart reap vital points in Bundesliga

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Berlin, April 13 (IANS) A 10-man Cologne overpowered Hoffenheim 3-2 to grab vital points in the relegation battle while Bremen lost to last-placed Stuttgart 2-3 to close the 28th round of German top flight football league Bundesliga.

With the eight win of the season on Sunday, newly promoted Cologne got three points in the relegation battle as they defeated seventh placed Hoffenheim on home soil, reports Xinhua.

From kick-off both sides staged an offensively-minded encounter, hence Hoffenheim’s Robert Firmino rattled the right post with just seconds into the game.

However, despite many chances, a foul play penalty for Cologne broke the deadlock in the 20th minute. Cologne’s Matthias Lehmann stepped up and converted the penalty into the centre of the goal.

With the goal behind, Cologne retracted whereas Hoffenheim tried to overcome the host’s bulwark. Yet, Cologne came closer to double up the lead when Anthony Ujah struck the right post from inside the box just before the break.

Ujah cut a better figure in front of Hoffenheim’s goal after the restart when he remained cool with just goalkeeper Oliver Baumann to beat, doubling the lead (54th minute).

It looked like Cologne would cruise to an easy win but things turned out to be different when Pawel Olkowski saw a straight red card and caused a penalty for a professional foul. Hoffenheim’s Eugen Polanski stepped up and reduced the arrears to 2-1 (70th).

Hoffenheim gained momentum but it were the hosts who extended the lead against the run of play when Jonas Hector’s solo run and goal made it 3-1 (78th). Resilient Hoffenheim kept it bowling and got rewarded with just two minutes remaining as Anthony Modeste headed home a corner.

However, the remaining two minutes were not enough as Cologne jumped from 13th to 11th place, establishing a six-point gap to the drop zone. Meanwhile, Hoffenheim remain on seventh by suffering their 11th loss of the season.

Elsewhere, last positioned Stuttgart climbed out of the bottom when they downed Bremen 3-2 thanks to Daniel Ginczek’s brace.

Bremen staged a resilient performance as they levelled the scores twice but 10-man Stuttgart responded in the dying minutes as Ginczek utilised a through ball by Serey Die to kill the game with the 3-2 lead.

The victory move Stuttgart from 18th to 17th place with 26 points while Bremen remain in ninth with 35.

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