FUERTH, Germany (AP) Two days after firing its coach, Cologne secured its return to the Bundesliga as Germany’s second division champion with a 4-0 win at Greuther Fuerth on Monday.
A hat trick from Jhon Cordoba and an own goal from Daniel Steininger ensured Cologne clinched top spot, eight points ahead of Paderborn with two rounds remaining.
After its rivals all lost at the weekend, Cologne needed only a point to secure an immediate return to the top flight following its relegation last season, but the mood at the club had been anything but celebratory after going four games without a win.
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Coach Markus Anfang was fired on Saturday after two straight defeats and former under-21 coach Andre Pawlak put in charge for the last three games of the season.
Pawlak clinched promotion on his debut after the win pushed the team to eight points more than Paderborn and nine more than Union Berlin and Hamburger SV. The top two are promoted, while the third-place finisher has a two-leg playoff against the team that finishes third from the bottom in the Bundesliga – currently Stuttgart – to determine which plays in the top flight next season.