German Europa League Round-Up: Köln and Hertha boost hopes

The Billy Goats and the Old Lady finally pick up first European wins, but Hoffenheim let another lead slip as they are held by İstanbul Başakşehir.

German Europa League Round-Up: Köln and Hertha boost hopes
Milos Jojic celebrates Koln's fifth goal against BATE Borisov. | Photo: Lukas Schulze - UEFA via Getty Images.

1. FC Köln and Hertha BSC have finally won for the first time in the UEFA Europa League season, however TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were frustrated again after conceding a late equaliser.

The Billy Goats’ first win in Europe for over 25 years was all the more impressive, beating BATE Borisov 5-2, scoring more goals in 90 minutes than they have managed in the Bundesliga all season.

Goal-fest gives Billy Goats a chance

The hosts got off to the perfect start when Simon Zoller put them ahead early on, however two goals in three minutes scored by Nemanja Milunovic and Nikolai Signevich ensured BATE took a lead into half-time and left Köln wondering if they were to suffer yet another defeat.

Yuya Osaka however came off the bench for the second half to equalise, before Sehrou Guirassy put them ahead once again direct from a free-kick. Osaka then added his second before a late fifth from Milos Jojic to send the city of Cologne into ecstasy.

Despite losing their first three games, their chances of qualifying have improved as they now sit on three points, just one behind BATE and two behind Red Star Belgrade. They host already-qualified Arsenal in three weeks’ time.

Hertha win but Hoffenheim let another lead slip

Hertha also picked up three points to reignite their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages, with just three points separating all four teams in Group J.

David Selke headed them in front on the 15-minute mark against Zorya Luhansk, who had beaten them two weeks earlier. That result wouldn’t be repeated, as Selke would score again in the second half in front of a sparsely-populated Olympiastadion, with the Ukrainians rarely posing a threat.

Hoffenheim looked on course to collect back-to-back wins against İstanbul Başakşehir, only to be denied at the death. Kerem Demirbay came closest before the break, but it was Florian Grillitsch who did put them ahead early in the second half.

However in the third minute of stoppage time, Edin Visca struck the break Hoffneheim hearts and ensuring they went home from Turkey with only a point. It was the third time they’d let a lead slip in the competition, and it left them three adrift of SC Braga, in second, with two games to go.