Cologne have lost both their opening Bundesliga 2017/18 matches, going down 3-1 at home to Hamburg on Friday having lost 1-0 at Borussia Moenchengladbach last weekend.
Germany winger Andre Hahn and US international striker Bobby Wood hit first-half goals for Hamburg before defender Frederik Sorensen scored for Cologne deep into added time as Lewis Holtby netted the visitors’ third goal just before the final whistle.
Last season, Cologne finished fifth in the Bundesliga to reach the Europa League and face Arsenal away in their first group stage game on September 14.
It means Cologne will be back in European competition for the first time in 25 years.
“This is a new situation for us,” admitted Cologne’s Austrian coach Peter Stoeger, who took over in 2013, after back-to-back defeats.
“Something like this hasn’t happened before and we have to tackle these tasks, which will be exciting,” he added with one eye on Europe.
Cologne are misfiring up front with their new striker Jhon Cordoba, 24, managing only three shots on goal against Hamburg.
The Colombian is struggling to fill the boots of the burly Modeste, who scored 25 goals in 34 games last season to fire Cologne up the table before joining Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian on a two-year loan deal.
“Two games, two defeats, of course that is pretty rubbish,” said Cologne’s director Jorg Schmadtke.
Cordoba cost a club record 17 million euros ($20.2m) from Mainz in June and his new team-mates have defended his below-par start.
“We’re not coming together yet as a unit and Jhon is working very hard for the team,” insisted defender Dominique Heintz with just over a fortnight before facing Arsenal away.
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