Winless Cologne wastes 3-goal lead in loss to fellow struggler Freiburg

Bottom-of-the-table FC Cologne's dismal season took another twist on Sunday when it blew a three-goal lead to lose 3-4 at home to fellow struggler SC Freiburg.

Groundstaff remove snow from the pitch ahead of the German Bundesliga match between FC Cologne and SC Freiburg at RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne on December 10, 2017. Cologne lost 3-4, wasting a three-goal lead.

Nils Petersen scored two late penalties — one in the 90th minute and another in injury time — as SC Freiburg came from three goals down to beat FC Cologne 4-3 in the German Bundesliga on Sunday.

"We were patient to the end. Football writes such stories," Petersen said. "It's bitter for Cologne. I'm sorry for the club, too."

Petersen also scored in the first half to start Freiburg's comeback and his hat trick denied Cologne what would have been its first league win of the season at the 15th attempt, one week after Cologne fired Peter Stoeger as coach.

"It can't get any worse," Cologne defender Dominique Heintz said.

Stoeger was presented by Borussia Dortmund as its new coach earlier on Sunday, after Dortmund responded to its league slump by firing Peter Bosz.

Kickoff in Cologne was delayed by a half-hour due to a snowstorm that continued as the game got under way.

The hosts raced into a three-goal lead. Lukas Kluenter opened the scoring in the 8th minute and Sehrou Guirassy added a second from the penalty spot before American midfielder Caleb Stanko's own-goal.

In a 30-minute span, Cologne had scored half as many goals as it had in the previous 14 league games.

But Petersen pulled one back with a fine volley in the 39th, and Freiburg's Janik Haberer ensured a nervy finale when he scored midway through the second half after a period of prolonged pressure from the visitors.

Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn made a brilliant save and was called into action again and again before his overwhelmed side gave away two penalties. Petersen converted them both to complete an unlikely comeback.

"Everything is going against us," Cologne's interim coach Stefan Ruthenbeck said.

Cologne, bottom of the Bundesliga with just 3 points from 15 games, faces a seemingly hopeless task to avoid relegation after making the worst ever start in the league since its formation in 1963.

Freiburg remained in the relegation playoff place, some 12 points above last-place Cologne.

Hertha Berlin was playing at Augsburg later on Sunday, and Hannover was hosting Hoffenheim.

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