Achim Beierlorzer made three changes to the line-up following the defeat to Düsseldorf last week. Noah Katterbach (muscle problem), Kingsley Schindler, Dominick Drexler (both bench) were replaced by Jorge Meré, Ismail Jakobs and Jhon Cordoba.
For Hoffenheim and Alfred Schreuder, there was just one alteration that followed from the win over Paderborn. Kevin Akpoguma dropped to the bench, with Stefan Posch taking his place in the starting line-up.
Given the magnitude of the game for both sides, a tense opening period got things under way. FC managed to have the first real chance, as a fine pass from Ellyes Skhiri set Kingsley Ehizibue off down the right. His cross was, however, was cut out at the final moment at the near post. It was a similar case again when the Hoffenheim defence blocked Simon Terodde’s low effort.
Florian Grillitsch threatened to give the visitors the lead after he danced his way through the FC defence, but Jorge Meré managed to rescue the situation just in time. Moments later, Sebastian Rudy was put through on goal by Jürgen Locadia’s clever turn. His effort, however, was comfortably wide of the far post as Timo Horn watched on.
Simon Terodde then got hit in the chest from Louis Schaub’s free-kick as the striker was caught unaware as the ball flew into the box. Schaub was at the heart of what would be FC’s opener, as he came in from the right and picked out Jhon Cordoba on the edge of the box. He spun and fired into the bottom corner to the joy of the home fans, and so it remained as the half-time whistle went.
FC started the second-half slowly and Timo Horn had to be awake to deny Jürgen Locadia’s close-range header. Alfred Schreuder brought on Sargis Adamyan at the break and the Armenian had the desired effect just three minutes later. Sebastian Rudy picked out the run of Adamyan at the back post, and he slammed in from 12 yards on the volley.
The middle of the second half brought largely nothing. Both sides went back and forward without anything meaningful in either goalmouth. Locadia fired wide after a knockdown from Adamyan, as FC came close through Dominick Drexler’s low drive and a fizzing effort from Kingsley Schindler.
Dominick Drexler was then adjudged to have been fouled in the FC box, before a two-minute VAR review decided to overturn the decision. Jürgen Locadia stepped up from the spot, and slotted home to give Hoffenheim all three points late on. FC face RB Leipzig away from home after the international break.
1. FC Köln (3-5-2): Horn – Bornauw (Schindler 83’), Meré, Czichos – Ehizibue, Skhiri (Verstraete 70‘), Schaub (Drexler 79’), Hector, Jakobs – Terodde, Cordoba.
TSG Hoffenheim (3-5-2): Baumann – Posch, Vogt, Hübner – Kaderabek, Rupp (Adamyan 46‘), Grillitsch, Rudy, Skov – Locadia, Bebou (Stafylidis 74‘).
Goals: 1:0, Cordoba 34’. 1:1, Adamyan 48’. 1:2, Locadia 90+8’.
Referee: Dr. Robert Kampka (Mainz).
Bookings: Czichos (15’), Skov (30’), Rudy (45+1’), Bornauw (80’), Locadia (86’), Hector (90+7’), Cordoba (90+8’).