Berlin (AFP) – French veteran Anthony Modeste scored two unanswered second-half goals on Sunday as hosts Cologne fought back to draw 2-2 to Bayer Leverkusen in the Rhineland derby.

The home side were on the ropes at their Rhein Energie Stadium as goals by Patrik Schick and Karim Bellarabi saw Leverkusen race into a 2-0 lead after just 17 minutes.

Leverkusen had won the three previous Rhineland derbies, but Cologne pulled a goal back when Modeste, 33, fired home unmarked with 62 minutes gone. 

Modeste then equalised with a header eight minutes from time to gain a share the points. 

“Many had already written us off. We turned the game around,” Modeste told DAZN.

“That is our strength this season, that was a strong second half from us.”

The result left Leverkusen fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who ran riot in a 4-0 home win over Hoffenheim on Saturday.

“When you go from 2-0 up to draw 2-2, then it feels like a defeat,” said Leverkusen captain, goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky.

“We lost our heads in the second-half and Cologne deservedly came back, but it’s still annoying.” 

Cologne are eighth after bouncing back from last weekend’s 5-0 hammering at Hoffenheim.

Leverkusen dominated early on as Modeste’s loose diagonal pass was intercepted and worked to Moussa Diaby, who slipped the ball on for Schick to score his eighth goal in nine league games.

It was 2-0 two minutes later when Bellarabi slotted his shot into the net just before hobbling off with a leg injury.

Cologne rallied and captain Jonas Hector squandered a great chance to equalise just before half-time when his header drifted just wide of the post.

With 64 minutes gone, Modeste collected the ball at the far post and fired home with a precise finish.

He made amends for wasting an earlier chance when he equalised after outmuscling his marker to nod home from close range as Cologne snatched a point.