Manuel Veth –
1860 Munich vs Fortuna Köln – Saturday, May 11, 12:30BST/13:30CEST – Grünwalder Stadion, Munich, Germany
The relegation zone has come dangerously close for 1860 Munich in recent weeks. With two games to go just four points separate the Lions from 17th-placed Carl Zeiss Jena — 1860’s opponent on matchday 38.
For weeks the Lions have now struggled to find points and goals. Furthermore, when the Lions do manage to score goals, they have been leaky like it has been the case on matchday 36 when they conceded five goals against FSV Zwickau.
A definite lack of balance and a squad not aware of present dangers seem to be the main problems. The Lions were not part of the relegation battle for most of the season and seemed to have switched off once fourth place, and automatic DFB Pokal qualification was out of reach.
Hence, can the Lions turn the switch one last time and collect the necessary win in the last two games to be on the save side? “It is an extreme situation, we are at a trough – and it is difficult to get out of it,” sporting director Günther Gorenzel said this week. “We have to take on every tackle like it is the last one,” he added.
Meanwhile, Fortuna Köln have been part of the relegation battle for most of this season. The 1-1 draw against Meppen last week “was the most difficult moment in my career,” head coach Oliver Zapel said this week. With that result, Fortuna are now in 19th spot and one point away from safety.
Fortuna have to win in Munich to stay alive heading into the final matchday of the season. In general, the club has good memories when it comes to the Grünwalder Stadion.
It was here that Fortuna returned to professional football beating Bayern II in the relegation playoffs in 2014. However, Köln will be without their best player Hamdi Dahmani; he is out with a muscular problem. The club’s top scorer and the captain is a big part in Fortuna’s attacking game and will leave a big hole to fill.
Will history repeat itself? Or will the Lions make the decisive step and finally secure safety? It will be a tight game, and in the end, 1860 fans will likely be happy to walk away with one point.
1860 Munich vs Fortuna Köln – Players to look out for:
Sascha Mölders #9 – 1860 Munich
Whenever it gets emotional Sascha Mölders is the player to count on. The burly striker has shown his age this season and might not be the top player he once was for the Lions. But he should not be counted out either and is usually there when it matters. On Saturday against Köln, it will matter, and Mölders will surely put everything on the line to keep the Lions in Liga 3.
Moritz Hartmann #8 – Fortuna Köln
With Dahmani out Moritz Hartmann is expected to carry some of the attacking load up front. The striker is the club’s leading scorer with four goals and five assists. In general, Fortuna, like 1860, have struggled to produce goals this season but need to come up with a big win to keep their Liga 3 aspirations alive.
1860 Munich vs Fortuna Köln – Match Stats
- Overall, the clubs have only faced each other on seven different occasions. Fortuna has the better record of the two by winning three, drawing two and losing two.
- 1860 Munich won their last home game against Fortuna Köln, a Bundesliga 2 fixture on October 23, 1993, 2-1.
- The return game was the first time Daniel Bierofka faced Fortuna Köln, meanwhile, new Fortuna head coach Oliver Zappel, hired on April 22, has never coached against 1860.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: 1860 Munich vs Fortuna Köln – 1-1
1860 Munich vs Fortuna Köln – Lineups
Hiller – Paul, Lorenz, Mauersberger, Steinhart – Wein, Lacazette – Kindsvater, Bekiroglu, Karger – Mölders
Head Coach: Daniel Bierofka
Rehnen – Uaferro, Fritz, Kyere Mensah – Brandenburger, Kurt – Schick, Andersen, Scheu – Bröker, Hartmann
Head Coach: Oliver Zappel
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.