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.
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.