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Podolski in form as Cologne hammer Augsburg

Podolski in form as Cologne hammer Augsburg

Cologne's topsy-turvy season continued Sunday as star striker Lukas Podolski netted twice in their impressive 3-0 win over ten-man Augsburg in the German league.

Germany star Podolski struck twice in the first-half to put his side 2-0 up at the break, converting a half-chance from close range on 19 minutes and then drilling home a penalty five minutes later.

Cologne's Poland midfielder Slawomir Peszko then scored on 56 minutes to end the match as a contest and to add insult to injury, Augsburg striker Torsten Oehrl was sent off for a dangerous foul on 76 minutes.

The win moves Cologne up to 11th in the table with five wins and five defeats, but the hosts are struggling for consistency under new Norwegian coach Stale Solbakken this season.

His team were drubbed 5-0 at defending champions Dortmund just a week ago, a fortnight after they were humiliated 3-0 at mid-table Hertha Berlin.

But Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen, Hanover 96 and Hoffenheim have all been beaten by Solbakken's team this season with Podolski scoring five goals in those three games.

The defeat leaves Augsburg second from bottom and they drop below Hamburg by virtue of goal difference.

On Saturday, league leaders Bayern Munich warmed up for Wednesday's visit of Napoli in the Champions League with a 4-0 hammering of Bavarian neighbours Nuremberg.

It was Bayern's eighth straight home win as Germany stars Mario Gomez, twice, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, plus France playmaker Franck Ribery, all netted.

But the victory may have come at a high cost as Schweinsteiger limped off in the 71st minute and is an injury doubt for Napoli.

Defending champions Dortmund drop to third in the table after they were held 1-1 at Stuttgart, where the kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes as the guests were caught in a motorway traffic jam en route.

Germany defender Serdar Tasci put Stuttgart ahead on 22 minutes, but on the stroke of half-time teenage Germany star Mario Goetze put in a superb ball for Shinji Kagawa to square for Lukasz Piszczek to put Dortmund level.

Schalke 04 take over second in the table, four points behind Bayern, after they enjoyed a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.

Werder Bremen moved up to fourth after they came from behind to win 3-1 at Mainz on Saturday evening and it was the host's ninth league game without a win.

Borussia Moenchengladbach are fifth in the table after Germany's rising star Marco Reus scored both their goals in a 2-1 win over Hanover.

Michael Ballack could be doubtful for Bayer Leverkusen's visit to Champions League Group E opponents Valencia on Tuesday after fracturing his nose during the 1-0 win over rock-bottom Freiburg on Friday.

Ballack scored the only goal of the game after two minutes to boost his side's flagging league campaign, only to be forced off in the 65th minute after a clash with Freiburg's Jan Rosenthal.


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