From the relegation straight to Europe - thanks to the support of the Rhenish rivals: 1. FC Köln secured qualification for the European Cup one matchday before the end of the season.

The Rhinelanders conceded a 0:1 (0:1) against VfL Wolfsburg at home through the goal of Cologne-trained Yannick Gerhardt (43rd) and did not get the necessary point themselves.

Since Bayer Leverkusen won 4-2 at TSG Hoffenheim, the counter was not necessary.

Cologne is therefore safe in the Conference League, if things go well, FC could move up to the Europa League in the coming week.

The Cologne team also played in 2017/18, it was the only European Cup season in the past 30 years.

For sixth place, Cologne, who only averted relegation last season in the relegation, would need a win in Stuttgart next week and at most a draw by Union Berlin against Bochum.

The positive tension in the city was palpable everywhere on Saturday.

Especially around the arena.

When the team bus pulled up at 2:09 p.m., it was greeted with great applause by numerous fans.

Before kick-off, the fans unveiled a huge banner that read "Shoot us to Europe, do it again - 1. FC Köln, international".

There were over 200,000 ticket requests, 50,000 fans were allowed in.

And the eleven from Cologne – ten from the Augsburg starting eleven and Salih Özcan, who was suspended there – started energetically and highly motivated.

After just one minute, VfL coach Florian Kohfeldt was standing on the sidelines gesticulating wildly to shake his team up.

A few seconds later it almost made it 1-0, but goalkeeper Pavao Pervan made a brilliant save against Anthony Modeste.

The Austrian, who replaced Koen Casteels, who is suffering from a shoulder problem, has not been a lucky charm so far this season.

Wolfsburg had lost all five games with him, conceding 14 goals.

But in the 6th minute he was the savior again when he deflected a shot from Benno Schmitz onto the post.

After 0:5 shots on goal in the first ten minutes, Wolfsburg struggled a bit, got in order and made it more difficult for Cologne to find gaps.

Yes, the guests now had the great opportunity to take the lead themselves, but Max Kruse completed a counterattack too harmlessly after a template from Lukas Nmecha (30th).

And two minutes before the break it actually happened: Gerhardt converted a cross pass from Jonas Wind at the far corner to make it 0:1.

It was the first goal in over a year for the former international, who came to FC at the age of nine and moved to Wolfsburg after 13 years in 2016.

After the break, Cologne pushed, but Florian Kainz failed at Pervan (53rd).

After the supposed 0:2 by Lukas Nmecha, there was a brief shocking silence in the stadium (55th), but the video evidence showed the shooter to be offside.

The Cologne fans cheered as if their team had scored.

The FC pushed on.

But Pervan surpassed himself, parrying three times brilliantly against Modeste (69'/74'/90'+5').

Instead, Leverkusen's goals in Hoffenheim caused jubilation.

The Cologne fans lit Bengalos and sang "European Cup".

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