Steffen Baumgart opted for three changes following the Pokal victory against FC Carl Zeiss Jena. Timo Horn, Ellyes Skhiri and Dejan Ljubicic came into the starting line-up in place of Marvin Schwäbe, Kingsley Ehizibue and Salih Özcan.
Pal Dardai made two alterations after their cup win over SV Meppen last Sunday. Dodi Lukebakio and Davie Selke dropped out and were replaced by Lucas Tousart and Matheus Cunha.
The game began at a high tempo with both sides attacking from the start. Unfortunately, that saw FC fall behind after just six minutes. A free-kick was headed goalward by Matheus Cunha, with Stevan Jovetic tapping in from close range after a Timo Horn save. The FC goalkeeper had to be alert to deny Suat Serdar and Jovetic, with Hertha starting the stronger of the two teams.
As the half wore on, FC began to look more lively going forward and that breakthrough came just before half-time. Jan Thielmann broke away down the left side and cut back in to cross for Anthony Modeste to power home a header. With the crowd buoyed by the goal, Florian Kainz almost added a second. Alexander Schwolow managed to get a hand to the shot to turn it around the post, however.
FC continued into the second-half as they ended the first, as a Mark Uth free-kick saw Schwolow spring into action again to deny Ellyes Skhiri. As Anthony Modeste made his way down the right-hand side, his cross deflected towards goal and was pushed away by the Hertha goalkeeper. However, Florian Kainz was on hand to head home from close range to give FC the lead.
Steffen Baumgart’s side had their tails up and managed to make it two goals in three minutes. Jan Thielmann collected a clever Rafael Czichos pass before slipping Benno Schmitz in behind the Hertha defence. Schmitz cutback towards the sliding Kainz, who forced the ball into the bottom corner from 10 yards. The RheinEnergieSTADION was bouncing.
Hertha were pushing to find a way back into the game, yet were coming up against a stoic FC defensive action. Dodi Lukebakio headed over from Deyovaisio Zeefuik’s teasing cross into the middle, before Santiago Ascacibar had a goal disallowed for offside. FC had chances to break late on but the score remained the same.
Steffen Baumgart secured all three points in his first game in charge, with FC’s next fixture away against Bayern Munich on Sunday at 17:30 CEST.
1. FC Köln (4-1-3-2): T. Horn – Schmitz (Ehizibue 84‘), Hübers, Czichos, Hector – Skhiri – Thielmann, Ljubicic (Özcan 76‘), Kainz (Schaub 76‘) – Modeste (Andersson 76‘), Uth (Duda 68‘).
Hertha BSC (4-1-2-1-2): Schwolow – Pekarik (Zeefuik 59‘), Stark, Dardai, Plattenhardt – Ascacibar – Boateng (Klünter 59‘), Tousart – Serdar – Cunha (Richter 65‘), Jovetic (Lukebakio 65‘).
Goals: 0:1, Jovetic 6‘. 1:1, Modeste 41‘. 2:1, Kainz 52‘. 3:1, Kainz 55‘.
Referee: Robert Hartmann (Wangen).
Booked: Hübers (16’), Czichos (67’), Thielmann (77’), Skhiri (80’), Plattenhardt (90’), Serdar (90+4’).
Attendance: 16,500 (sold-out).
€ 79.99 *