Augsburg moved above Cologne in the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win in a tense relegation battle in Bavaria.
Ja-Cheol Koo put Augsburg in front only for Lukas Podolski to level from the penalty spot.
However, Nando Rafael restored Augsburg's advantage from the spot just before half-time and Jos Luhukay's side held on for their eighth home game without defeat and their sixth match in a row unbeaten.
Cologne, meanwhile, slip into the bottom three for the first time this season with coach Stale Solbakken's job now on the line.
Augsburg showed how their confidence levels have grown in recent weeks as they launched themselves straight onto the attack.
Cologne goalkeeper Michael Rensing was warmed up with shots from Axel Bellinghausen and Daniel Baier before he made an impressive reflex save to deny Rafael.
Bellinghausen, who has agreed a move to Cologne's bitter local rivals Fortuna Dusseldorf next season, set up Koo to put Augsburg in front in the 19th minute with a cross from the left which the South Korean drilled in for his third goal of the season.
Cologne got back into the game with a penalty after Podolski was fouled inside the area by Gibril Sankoh, and the Germany international stepped up to score from the spot in the 42nd minute.
But just three minutes later, referee Tobias Welz pointed to the spot again, this time at the other end as Baier was adjudged to have been fouled by Henrique Sereno.
Rafael stepped up to beat Rensing and restore Augsburg's advantage at the break.
Augsburg entertained the latest sell-out crowd of over 30,000 at the Augsburg Arena with a strong second-half performance, and they never looked at risk of conceding an equaliser.
Solbakken's men did not seem to know what to do and they failed to threaten Simon Jentzsch in the Augsburg goal as they fell to another disappointing defeat which could have consequences for the Norwegian coach.