Schalke lose to Cologne despite goal from in-form Hoppe

Berlin (AFP) – Schalke remained rooted to the foot of the Bundesliga table after slipping to a 2-1 home loss to fellow strugglers Cologne on Wednesday, despite a fifth goal in three games for American teenager Matthew Hoppe.

Cologne defender Rafael Czichos gave the visitors a first-half lead, but Hoppe equalised before the hour mark.

Cologne snatched a late win when Jan Thielmann fired past Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann in injury time.

The win lifted Cologne out of the relegation play-off place to 15th, while Schalke remain behind second-bottom Mainz on goal difference.

Hoppe became the first American to score a Bundesliga hat-trick in the 4-0 thrashing of Hoffenheim 10 days ago which ended Schalke’s 30-match winless run in the league, before also netting in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Schalke next host league leaders Bayern Munich on Sunday having been thrashed 8-0 by the European champions at the Allianz Arena on the opening day of the season.

The Royal Blues’ new signing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar missed Wednesday’s game with a calf strain after rejoining on Tuesday following two years with Ajax.

Cologne ended a miserable five-match goalless run in the league when Czichos headed home a deflected cross with half an hour played.

Cologne nearly went 2-0 up just after the break when Schalke midfielder Benjamin Stambouli clipped his own post with an attempted clearance.

The hosts drew level when Hoppe pounced on a loose ball in the area, before Thielmann’s late winner.

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