Friedhelm Funkels start in his very last rescue mission has been badly wrong. The veteran coach lost on his comeback from retirement with the acutely threatened 1. FC Köln the derby at Bayer Leverkusen 0: 3 (0: 1), a spark in the relegation battle could not be seen.
Bayer reported back in the fight for the Champions League qualification. Loan coach Hannes Wolf’s team reduced the gap to fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, who lost to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the afternoon, to six points.
Leon Bailey (5th) gave Bayer an early lead with a placed header. Moussa Diaby (51st) increased before Bailey (76th) made everything clear. With their second win in their third game under Wolf, which was on loan from the DFB until the end of the season, the Werkself moved past Borussia Dortmund (46) to fifth with 47 points, at least temporarily.
Cologne remains penultimate with 23 points for the ninth game in a row without a win. The gap to 16. Hertha BSC, whose upcoming games have been postponed due to complete corona isolation, is three points. Funkel inherited the dismissed Markus Gisdol on Monday and is said to keep the Domstadters from relegation with his experience.
Funkels “great anticipation” for his comeback in the dugout after 447 days was quickly clouded: Diaby first let Jannes Horn slip into the open and served Bailey at the far post perfectly with his soulful flank.
Leverkusen – Cologne: Effzeh does not use its own chances
Leverkusen was then surprisingly pushed back and offered Cologne many rooms. First Marius Wolf (19th) slipped just past a cross in the penalty area, then FC captain Jonas Hector headed off (20th).
Leverkusen, who had to do without young star Florian Wirtz (adductor problems) in midfield, looked insecure. The FC remained dangerous. After Bayer captain Charles Aranguiz fouled Wolf, referee Sören Storks (Velen) decided on a penalty (35th), withdrew it after briefly consulting the VAR and rightly gave a free kick because of contact outside the penalty area. Hector shot it heavily against the crossbar (36th).