COLOGNE, Germany (AP) Cologne defeated Bochum 3-1 at home to secure its return to the Bundesliga on Monday after two years in the second division.
Adam Matuschyk’s 42nd-minute own goal was cancelled by Marcel Risse, sent on by Cologne at halftime, equalizing in the 50th. Patrick Helmes made it 2-1 with a penalty in the 64th, after Bochum defender Jonas Acquistapace was sent off, and Risse set up Anthony Ujah to secure his side’s fifth consecutive victory in the 81st.
Cologne, which was relegated from the top flight on the final day of the 2011-12 season, has an unassailable 10-point lead over second-place Greuther Fuerth with three games remaining.
”It was our target this season,” Risse said as Cologne fans invaded the pitch to celebrate with the players. ”To have achieved (promotion) with games to spare is a dream.”
The second division’s top two teams win automatic promotion, while the club that finishes third plays off against the 16th-placed side in the 18-team Bundesliga.
Paderborn is one point behind Fuerth in the relegation playoff place, with Kaiserslautern another three further back.
Cologne has three German championships; 1962, then the first Bundesliga title in 1964 and another in 1978, but the club has endured mixed fortunes in recent years, alternating between the top two divisions.