Late VAR drama denies Cologne in Bundesliga relegation fight

BERLIN (AP) — Cologne had an injury-time equalizer ruled out through VAR before Freiburg scored twice to win 4-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Jan Thielmann thought he’d made it 2-2 in the 91st minute to earn Cologne what could be a vital point in its bid to avoid relegation, but a VAR review ruled that the ball came off captain Jonas Hector’s upper arm when setting him up.

“I can tell – and I already said this on the field – that I got the ball on my shoulder,” said Hector, who was unhappy that referee Marco Fritz did not check video replays himself.

There was still time for Vincenzo Grifo and Jonathan Schmid to score two more for the visitors to leave Cologne second last in an automatic relegation spot with two rounds remaining.

Ondrej Duda should have equalized earlier for Cologne, but he slipped as he was taking a penalty and sent the spot kick over.

Cologne dropped two points behind Arminia Bielefeld and Hertha Berlin after their 0-0 draw in Berlin.

HERTHA STALEMATE

Hertha remained unbeaten in its third game in a week since returning from two weeks’ quarantine due to a coronavirus outbreak. It next faces already-relegated Schalke on Wednesday in the last of its rescheduled games.

A win in Gelsenkirchen would take Pál Dárdai’s team to 13th in the 18-team division, three points above Bielefeld in the relegation zone with two rounds remaining for each club.

There was a lengthy hold up to the game following a clash of heads between Hertha’s Maximilian Mittelstädt and Bielefeld’s Anderson Lucoqui. Both eventually played on, but Dárdai took Mittelstädt off for Jordan Torunarigha shortly afterward. Hertha later said the midfielder was suspected to have concussion.

John Cordoba struck the post for Hertha. It was the closest either side came to a breakthrough.

Hertha’s goalkeeping coach Ilja Hofstädt suffered an ankle injury before the game.

FRANKFURT FRUSTRATED

Eintracht Frankfurt’s bid to reclaim fourth place and the last spot for Champions League qualification was foiled in a 1-1 draw with Mainz.

It could have been even worse for the home side, with Karim Onisiwo missing a great chance to seal the win for Mainz in the 76th minute. Goalkeeper Kevin Trapp got the better of their one-on-one.

Onisiwo had fired the visitors ahead in the 11th minute, but Ajdin Hrustic equalized with five minutes of normal time remaining when he recovered from a fall to loop the ball in under the crossbar while getting up.

Frankfurt dropped a point behind Borussia Dortmund with two rounds remaining in their race for Champions League qualification. Frankfurt next visits Schalke before Freiburg visits for their last game. Dortmund visits Mainz – now unbeaten in nine games – then hosts Bayer Leverkusen for the season finale.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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