In the final minutes of the game against VfL Wolfsburg, many people in the southern corner of the Müngersdorfer Stadion didn't care that their team was 1-0 down and eventually lost.

"Euroooooopapocal, we're playing in the Euroooooopapocal again," they sang persistently and prepared a space attack.

After the final whistle, thousands of people actually ran onto the lawn, lit Bengali fires, danced and cheered.

Because TSG Hoffenheim lost 4-2 to Bayer Leverkusen, the team from Cologne will end the season in at least seventh place and take part in the Europa Conference League next season.

If the Rhinelanders still manage to jump to sixth place on the last day of the game, they will even play in the Europa League.

"Before the season nobody would have thought that we would see such pictures here in Cologne today.

We're very proud of that," said Thomas Kessler, head of the Cologne licensed player department.

While some players quickly fled from the people into the dressing room, Anthony Modeste let the revelers carry him on his hands, "that was something nice, better than being kicked," said the striker later.

Modeste was already there on that memorable May afternoon five years ago when the Cologne team had qualified for a European competition for the only time in this millennium.

The whole city got into a kind of football ecstasy, the square had also been stormed then, Kölsch and tears of joy flowed everywhere.

Now, five years later, the fans had commemorated that day with a choreography worth seeing and asked for a repeat: "Shoot us to Europe, do it again - 1. FC Köln, international," said a huge banner that curved the curve graced while the players came onto the court.

Driven by an unbelievable energy from the audience, the people of Cologne quickly established a clear dominance.

After three minutes Modeste had the first good chance to head the ball, Benno Schmitz hit the post (6th minute) and Salih Özcan acted a little too indecisively when he got the ball freely in the penalty area (19th).

And when the first urge phase came to an end, the Cologne team had to do what they have almost always done excellently this season: work intensively and with concentration.

But that wasn't enough that day, because Yannick Gerhardt crowned a nice attack by Wolfsburg just before the break with the goal to make it 0-1 (43rd).

Nevertheless, the Cologne spectators tried to cheer on their team with songs, the superiority of FC became more and more overwhelming.

Florian Kainz was unlucky with a volley from 16 meters that the great Wolfsburg goalkeeper Pavao Pervan was able to fend off with difficulty (53'), Modeste had several good opportunities (69', 74', 90'), and Uth would have scored a goal too can (72.).

But something was always missing or Pervan got in the way.

"The performance was good, we had many chances and didn't take them in the end," said Salih Özcan.

After the final whistle, people still cheered, even if the most important figure on the way to this success had trouble really celebrating: "It's a bit difficult for me to feel the euphoria of the people celebrating out on the pitch," said coach Steffen Baumgart.

"If you lose a game like that 1-0, it annoys me."

The team did not experience an unbridled explosion of emotions like five years ago.

There is still an important game coming up in Stuttgart next weekend, in which a lot is also at stake for VfB, "but today we're going to celebrate anyway," said Uth.

However, for the time being it is only a small Europa Conference League festival that is to be continued in a week as a participant in the Europa League.

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