Germany: Bundesliga
1 - 2
(1 - 1)
FC Köln
F. Neuhaus (16)
E. Rexhbecaj (3), E. Rexhbecaj (55)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Köln surprise to take Rheinderby prize behind Rexhbecaj brace

Before the empty stands at Borussia Park, die Geißböcke of 1. FC Köln snapped a three-game-losing streak in one of Germany's fiercest regional derbies.

For the first time since 2018, bragging rights go to the cathedral city club in the Bundesrepublik's famous battle of the "Rhein-rivalen". 
On-loan Wolfsburg attacker Elvis Rexhbecaj continued to shake himself out of a long slump to score his fourth and fifth goals of the 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign as the Effzeh of Cologne pulled off a massive upset on Saturday evening.

A 2-1 defeat of Marco Rose's Borussia Mönchengladbach proved a massive boost for Markus Gisdol & Co. They've now won three of their last four league fixtures and sit four points clear of the table's relegation playoff place. 

Köln's German Kosovar found himself somewhat lucky to open the scoring for the visitors in the 2nd minute. Domstädter playmaker Ondrej Duda played him through wonderfully, but the 23-year-old's effort careened past Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer after taking a deflection off of Stefan Lainer's back calf.

A quarter of an hour later, it was the hosting BMG's turn to score of a deflection. In point of fact, Florian Neuhaus' shot took a wicked double deflection off of Salih Özcan and Jorge Meré. Keeper Timo Horn stood no chance on the equalizer.

The duration of the first half saw the ball mostly remain in mid-field as both sides dueled hard to a tactical stalemate. Fohlen lead-striker Breel Embolo punched through for the next major scoring chance nine minutes after the restart.

Shortly after Meré saved his team with a vital tackled away from Embolo, Köln shot ahead on what first appeared meaningless pressure on a Gladbach build. Rexhbecaj picked Lainer's pocket after the BMG defender was played a ball in his own danger are. This time the Kosovar deserved full credit for the superb 55th minute steal and finish. 

Fohlen trainer Marco Rose brought on the big guns, many of which he had rotated out after a grueling midweek Pokal fixture. Marcus Thuram, Alassane Plea, and Jonas Hoffman all entered on a triple substitution in the 58th. It came to no avail as a suddenly confident and courageous Köln generated the better chances down the stretch. 

The surprise result hands Gladbach their first loss of 2021. Cologne remarkably managed to attain the win without a clear striker. Emmanuel Dennis played only 58 minutes and new acquisition Max Meyer was not used. 

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