Cologne eased the pressure on coach Zvonimir Soldo by recording a richly-deserved first Bundesliga victory of the season at the expense of Stuttgart. Sebastian Freis set the visitors on their way in the 25th minute and substitute Wilfried Sanou capitalised on sloppy goalkeeping from Jens Lehmann to seal matters a minute from time, just six minutes after his introduction in place of Lukas Podolski.
The result moved Cologne up to 15th in the standings, just one point and one position worse off than 2006/07 champions Stuttgart.
The visitors made clear their attacking intent from the outset, with Pedro Geromel having his shot blocked on the line in only the second minute. The breakthrough arrived in the 25th minute, Freis tucking away a neat finish into the bottom-left corner from Fabrice Ehret's right-wing cross.
Ehret let fly himself ten minutes later with a fierce shot from 20 yards which struck the left-hand post.
Markus Babbel's team were stung into action after the interval and pressed forward in search of the equaliser. Sami Khedira made some space for himself just after the hour and got his shot away, but struck it just wide of Farid Mondragon's left-hand upright.
Mondragon's fumble from Timo Gebhart's effort eight minutes later almost restored parity, but the rebound did not fall kindly for a home attacker. And when the next goal of the match did arrive, it was Lehmann who was left red-faced to pick the ball out of his net.
The former Arsenal goalkeeper wandered out of his area with the ball and did not spot Sanou behind him, allowing the striker to nick possession and slot home from 25 yards.