BERLIN, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Bayer Leverkusen increased Cologne's relegation worries after reaping a 3-0 victory thanks to a double strike from Leon Bailey in the 29th round on Saturday.
Leverkusen ensured a perfect start into the Rhine derby as Moussa Diaby shrugged off Jannes Horn before crossing to the back post where Bailey nodded home the opener with only five minutes played.
Although relegation-threatened Cologne caught the worst possible start, the visitors responded well and had a good chance in the 20th minute when Jonas Hector headed Horn's pinpoint cross over the target.
Leverkusen retracted with the narrow lead and focussed on counterattacks while Hector's free-kick hammer hit the woodwork and sent the first warning with 36th minutes into the game.
Hector's attempt was a wake-up call as Leverkusen had its first chance in the dying seconds of the first half when Cologne's goalkeeper Timo Horn had to be on guard to defuse Patrik Schick's effort.
After the restart, the visitors continued to pose danger in front of Leverkusen's goal as unmarked Hector pulled wide from a promising position three minutes into the second half.
Leverkusen cut a better figure in front of goal and showed a clinical chance conversion after Bailey initiated a counterattack before setting up for Diaby, who had enough space to double the lead from close range in the 51st minute.
Cologne kept it bowling but for all that Florian Kainz' long-range effort rattled only the crossbar at the hour mark.
Leverkusen proved once again its efficiency after Bailey sidestepped three Leverkusen players before finishing off a fast break to put the result beyond doubt in the 76th minute.
With the victory, Bayer Leverkusen climbs to 5th whereas Cologne continues in the 17th position, which is a direct-relegation spot.
"We lost 3-0 but we did not play too bad. We tried hard but lacked in accuracy while Leverkusen made three goals from as many chances," said new Cologne coach Friedhelm Funkel.
On Sunday, Borussia Dortmund encounter Werder Bremen to conclude the 29th round. The match between Mainz and Hertha Berlin has been postponed due to a number of corona cases within Hertha's team.