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Downs scores late to help Cologne defer Bundesliga relegation decisions to final day

Damion Downes Cologne FC Damion Downs - The Canadian Press

BERLIN (AP) — Damion Downs scored in injury time to keep alive Cologne’s Bundesliga survival hopes Saturday with a 3-2 home win over Union Berlin, which dropped into the relegation zone with one round remaining.

Cologne had to win to have any hope of escaping the drop, and the team came from two goals down to defer its fate until next weekend.

It was the first time Union ever lost a Bundesliga game after enjoying a two-goal lead. And it came despite the club firing Nenad Bjelica as coach on Monday and reappointing Marco Grote as interim coach.

“The path hasn't changed. It's clear that it hasn't gotten any easier because we lost,” Grote said.

Mainz capitalized on Union's defeat by beating Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in the late game to leave the relegation playoff spot.

Dortmund started with 10 changes to the team that defeated Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League semifinal on Tuesday, and few were able to make their case to play in the final against Real Madrid on June 1.

Mainz raced into a three-goal lead and could have scored more. Dortmund coach Edin Terzić made three changes at the break.

In contrast to Mainz, Union was unable to build on its early dominance.

Steffen Tigges equalized in the 87th minute for Cologne, then Downs headed the winner in the third minute of stoppage time.

“The three points are super important, and now we have a final on the last day,” said Cologne's Timo Hübers, whose team faces promoted Heidenheim away next weekend.

Union was just three points above Cologne, in the relegation-promotion playoff spot, while Mainz moved two points clear after its eighth straight game without defeat. Union hasn't won any of its last seven.

“We have to look ahead. It only works together,” Union captain Christopher Trimmel said.

Also, Freiburg drew with Heidenheim 1-1 in Christian Streich’s last home game in charge after more than 12 years as the Freiburg coach.

“Congratulations to Heidenheim for the draw,” Streich said. “If again we can't win a game at home, my favorite for it to happen against is Heidenheim.”

Streich is the Bundesliga’s longest-serving coach but he said in March he will step down at the end of the season. His final game is at Union Berlin next weekend.

Leipzig drew with Werder Bremen 1-1, as did Borussia Mönchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Holstein Kiel clinched its first ever promotion to the Bundesliga after drawing at home with Fortuna Düsseldorf 1-1.


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