Then they won two days earlier: undeterred by the discussions about the postponement of the game, 1. FC Köln spoiled the mood of their Rhenish rival Bayer Leverkusen at the start of the hot May.
With the 2-1 (2-1) about 15 kilometers northeast of their own arena, FC stopped the impressive run of Leverkusen after 14 competitive games without defeat, the Werkself missed a severe setback before the semi-final first leg in the Europa League on Thursday of AS Roma and freed himself from the last relegation worries.
Bayer, on the other hand, threatens to slip out of the European Cup ranks on the fourth-to-last match day of the Bundesliga. For that, however, VfL Wolfsburg would have to win at title contenders Borussia Dortmund on Sunday. "We had a lot of chances, but no real chances. We weren't compelling enough today," said Leverkusen's Robert Andrich: "We conceded two very cheap goals."
Selke ends double pack dry spell
In the explosive but atmospheric and, according to initial findings, largely peaceful derby, FC striker Davie Selke became a derby hero with his first brace in more than five years (14th/36th minute) and also ensured Cologne's first win in a game Friday night after six defeats before. Today the guys served me really well, I'm grateful for that," said Selke: "It was a difficult task for us, which we solved very, very well."
Amine Adli had equalized for Bayer (28'). Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso had previously expressed the wish "that we remember this May forever". The first memory will be negative.
There had been a lot of discussion before the game because Leverkusen had brought the game forward from Sunday to Friday in view of the Rome game. Above all, the people of Cologne had complained that they were not involved in the process at an early stage. The first positive effect for Leverkusen: They now have two more days to process the derby defeat.
No riots beforehand
On arrival, contrary to fears, it was largely quiet. But in the stands, both fan groups gave their all and really rocked the volume up. On the soapy lawn after hours of rain, a lively game developed right from the start. Cologne were lucky in the fifth minute when Timo Hübers fouled Mitchel Bakker, but about half a meter from the penalty area.
Leverkusen were initially clearly in control, but Cologne took their first chance to score when Selke escaped from a cross from Florian Kainz behind Jonathan Tah in his 300th competitive game for Bayer and headed in for Lukas Hradecky. The Cologne team celebrated the lead with a few pyros, and thick clouds then hung over the arena for a while. Three minutes later, Kainz could have increased, but he missed clearly from ten meters free-standing.
Tennis balls and pack formation
It took Leverkusen a while to get over the shock of being behind, but then they managed to equalize in impressive fashion. But that was not the turning point, because Cologne struck back in ice cold in the middle of Leverkusen's urgent phase. And again it was Selke, who has often been unhappy since his winter move, who, after a strong cross from Jan Thielmann, was faster on the ball than Edmond Tapsoba and completed it. Most recently, Selke scored two Bundesliga goals in one game for Hertha BSC on April 14, 2018 – against Cologne.
After the change, some Cologne fans threw tennis balls onto the field, which caused a brief interruption. The game wasn't quite as fast as in the first round. Good goal scenes were in short supply for a long time, but it was always exciting. Significant for the hustle and bustle in the final phase was a pack formation in the 80th minute, which referee Felix Zwayer punished with three yellow cards.