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FC Cologne blitzed Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Rhine derby by scoring three first-half goals for the first time ever against their bitter rivals in a Bundesliga away game.

A Cologne fan made headlines for drunkenly invading the Bayern Munich pitch after they were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in midweek, and the party resumed within minutes at Gladbach’s Borussia-Park. The crackling atmosphere was swiftly silenced when Anthony Modeste’s sharp movement inside the box saw him latch onto a low cross for his 16th goal of the season. Minutes after setting up the opener, Florian Kainz was on the receiving end of a cutback to fire Cologne two in front as Steffen Baumgart’s clinical ‘Billy Goats’ put Adi Hütter’s floundering ‘Foals’ to the sword.

Jonas Hofmann’s deft dink came within inches of halving the deficit, but the gulf kept widening and truly calamitous Gladbach defending opened the door to another Cologne fast break. As if the hosts hadn’t learned their lesson, Dejan Ljubičić promptly received the ball in prime position to fire low and hard past Yann Sommer, who had to retrieve the ball from his own net three times within the first 34 minutes.

With Gladbach offering little in the way of an imminent fightback, Cologne seemed to take their foot off the pedal after the break. Breel Embolo, who at least asked questions of the visitors’ backline on a tough afternoon, fed Hofmann but his effort trickled agonisingly wide for a second time. Embolo got his reward late on, however, showing tremendous strength to hold off defenders after a raking long ball and coolly slotting in his sixth league goal of the campaign.

Three points catapults the ‘Billy Goats’, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, into the European spots and puts them well on course to topple their post-2000 Bundesliga record points total of 49. Meanwhile, Gladbach’s defensive woes continued and Hütter will look back on a painful pair of Rhine derbies in his debut season after a 4-1 drubbing in the reverse fixture.

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