US international John Brooks and Dutch striker Wout Weghorst netted as Wolfsburg jumped to third in the Bundesliga on Sunday with a 3-0 home win over mid-table Freiburg.
The victory lifts Wolfsburg into the Champions League places as they reached a 15-month high in the table having been sixth before kick-off.
Wolfsburg remain 10 points behind league leaders Bayern Munich, but the aim is to qualify for Europe.
“Our aim before the season was to be involved internationally and the Champions League is part of that,” said sports director Marcel Schaefer.
“We deserved the win and want to prove ourselves from week to week.”
Wolfsburg remain unbeaten at home this season. Brooks fired them into an early lead before Weghorst showed great finishing to make it 2-0 at the break.
Weghorst has netted 12 league goals this season and forced Freiburg goalkeeper Florian Mueller into a string of brilliant saves in sub-zero temperatures.
Midfielder Yannick Gerhardt celebrated signing a contract extension in midweek by tapping home Wolfsburg’s third goal four minutes from time.
At the other end of the table, Cologne earned their first home league win for 11 months to climb out of the relegation play-off spot with a 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld.
Cologne are up to 14th after ending their miserable home run, while Bielefeld drop to 16th.
On-loan Borussia Dortmund winger Marius Wolf gave Cologne an early lead with a simple tap-in, then smashed a volley just inside the post before half-time.
Midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj added a third when he was left unmarked as Bielefeld struggled to reorganise after a double substitution.
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Venezuela forward Sergio Cordova came off the bench to claim a consolation goal for Bielefeld with an easy finish after a mix-up in the home defence.
Max Meyer, who captained Germany to the silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, came on for his Cologne debut just before the final whistle, having signed in midweek after his Crystal Palace contract was cancelled.
On Saturday, leaders Bayern Munich maintained their seven-point lead with a 4-1 home win against Hoffenheim while second-placed RB Leipzig edged to a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.