FC Köln captain Jonas Hector completed a brace to lead his relegation-threatened side to a 2-1 victory over second-place RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga's first round 30 kick-off.
The match has huge implications for the 2020/21 relegation race. Schalke 04 will officially be eliminated from next year's campaign with a loss tonight.
|Christopher Nkunku and Jonas Hector.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Sebastian El Saqqa/firosportphoto/POOL via Picture Point|
After turning in a pair of strong games and still coming up empty-handed, former German international Jonas Hector finally led his Geißböcke to victory Tuesday evening against the most unlikeliest of opponents. Hector's brace ensured an 2-1 upset win over Julian Nagelsmann's German Red Bulls and three vital points in a tough relegation dogfight.
Hector initially worked alongside. Ellyes Skhiri in a 4-2-3-1 New Domstädter trainer Friedhelm Funkel, lacking a lead striker option, placed midfielder Ondrej Duda alone up top just as his predecessor Markus Gisdol had done. Dominik Drexler and Elvis Rexhbecaj entered the Köln XI in direct support.
Nagelsmann made five rotative changes following last Friday's disappointing 0-0 draw with Hoffenheim. Very little was accomplished by this as nary a dangerous chance was created until Nordi Mukiele shot wide in the 37th. Alexander Sørloth, back in the starting XI, forced a good save out of Köln keeper Timo Horn in the 41st.
Following a low-entertainment-value first half, the match sprung into life immediately after he restart with Hector's first goal. Fullback Jannes Horn charged upon the left flank and worked in a lovely cross in the 46th. Hector headed home with a textbook finish to put the underdogs up 1-0. RB equalized 13 minutes later when Amadou Haidara supplied the impressive finish from 20 meters out.
Hector ensured that the parity would last only 60 seconds. After a beautiful one-two with Duda, the skipper laced home an emphatic finish to recapture a 2-1 lead. Saxon substitutes Justin Kluivert and Angelino got quality chances in down the stretch, but could not provide RB with their second equalizer. With a bit of overdue lucky breaks, Köln were able to move up to 26 points and keep their hopes of survival alive.
The result means, that should Schalke 04 lose in their 20:30 kickoff, the relegation of Germany's Königsblauen will be official.