1. FC Köln 1-1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Visitors make history thanks to late goal

Hoffenheim made history as Julian Nagelsmann’s side claimed European football for the first time in the clubs history thanks to a Kerem Demirbay stoppage time equaliser against 1. FC Köln.

The visiting team on the night are guaranteed at least Europa League football for next season after Demirbay scored the equalising goal in the second minute of stoppage time, despite Hoffenheim being on the back foot for most of the game.

Leonardo Bittencourt scored the opening goal in an uneventful game in a quarter of an hour into the second half, after Jonas Hector caught the Hoffenheim defence off with a stunning cross that found his teammate for an easy tap in.

The result means that Köln face a fight for a spot in the Europa League with four games of the Bundesliga season left to go, with Die Geißböcke still in the final Europa League spot on goal difference in 6th place.

Neither side threaten

The stakes that were on the line for this match were undisputedly high, however both sides lacked the hunger to go on the attack from the start of the game.

Köln found their defence and midfield being incredibly stretched out by the five-man Hoffenheim midfield, and the gaps left by the hosts made it possible for the visitors to exploit the vacant areas, however Hoffenheim’s finishing was lacklustre in the opening 15 minutes of the match.

The visitors start to attack

Hoffenheim had the edge over their hosts for most of the first half. Köln found it difficult to exploit the knit-tight Hoffenheim back three that stood sturdy.

Die Geißböcke however found it hard to keep Andrej Kramarić and Ádám Szalai away from their box, as the duo constantly found ways to run into the Köln box, however Timo Horn was hardly tested.

Köln kick back

Oliver Baumann was forced into making a fantastic save five minutes from halftime, when Dominique Heintz reached onto the end of a Yuyu Osako corner, however the centre back’s header was brilliantly saved by Baumann, who reacted well to flick the defender’s header away.

Despite the late Köln pressure, the hosts were unable to break the deadlock going into halftime.

A goal out of nothing

The second half started like the first half had played out, dull and uneventful. However 10 minutes into the game, the atmosphere of the game changed complexly.

Köln finally broke the deadlock through Bittencourt on the 56th minute mark, when the Hoffenheim defence failed to pick out the speedy winger making a run into the box to tap in a Hector cross from close range, to give the hosts a surprise lead out of nowhere.

Another barren spell of football followed following Bittencourt’s opener, however Osako almost doubled the hosts lead 75 minutes in, when the Japanese striker weaved his way through the Hoffenheim right wing, before lashing a strike towards Baumann, however the former Freiburg keeper made a good save to deny the Köln striker.

The pressure, though, seemed to change in an instance, as suddenly the Cologne based club found themselves on the back foot. Hoffenheim almost found an equaliser 10 minutes from time, when Lukas Rupp found himself with an open net after a goalmouth scramble with Sandro Wagner and Horn, however the winger couldn’t get the right contact on the ball, and the danger was hoofed away from the hosts penalty area.

Hoffenheim make history

Köln stood strong, and when the fourth official indicated that four minutes of added time would be added, the hosts knew they would be facing an onslaught, and the onslaught paid off.

After a scramble to put the ball in the Köln half, Niklas Süle rolled the ball off to Demirbay on the outside of the box, and the summer signing from Hamburg finessed the ball past Horn with two minutes of stoppage time to go, to secure European football for Hoffenheim next season.