AUGSBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Cologne's Ondrej Duda struck twice in the first half to help them to a nervous 3-2 win at Augsburg on Friday and make it two wins in a row as they battle to avoid relegation with three games left in the Bundesliga season.
Slovakia international Duda connected perfectly with an Ellyes Skhiri cross from the left to power in a sensational volley from the edge of the box in the eighth minute before Florian Kainz doubled the lead with crisp low drive in the 24th.
Cologne had lost their last five matches on the road but looked to be cruising to an easy win when Duda drilled home a cutback in the 32nd for his second goal to make it 3-0.
Augsburg battled back after the break with Robert Gumny firing in on the rebound in the 54th minute.
Ruben Vargas' close-range effort eight minutes later further cut Cologne's lead but despite dominating the entire second half the hosts could not find the equaliser.
Cologne, who also stunned second-placed RB Leipzig 2-1 on Tuesday, climbed to 16th place and into the relegation playoff spot on 29 points.
Hertha Berlin, who drop to second-bottom on 26, have three games in hand, however, after having gone into quarantine last week because of several positive coronavirus cases.
Bottom side Schalke 04 with 13 points are already relegated.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Ken Ferris)