Köln vs BATE Borisov – Thursday, November 2, 20:05GMT/21:05CET – Müngersdorfer Stadion, Cologne, Germany.
With zero points in three Europa League group, stage matches Köln’s European season is a perfect metaphor for the season overall. After a fantastic season last year in which Köln qualified for Europe for the first time in 25 years everything has gone wrong for them this year.
Köln not only had a poor start to the Europa League season but are also rock bottom in the Bundesliga standings with just two points after ten games. The number one cause of the club’s problems has been the absence of a true number one striker and injuries to key players Marco Höger, Marcel Risse, Jonas Hector and Jhon Cordoba. Cordoba was, of course, brought in to replace Anthony Modeste, the Colombian, however, first had a tough time in replacing Modeste and then went down with an injury.
Cordoba aside Köln’s sporting director Jörg Schmadtke hoped that the likes of Sehrou Guirassy, Claudio Pizarro, who is not registered for the Europa League, Simon Zoller and Yuya Osako would be able to collective score the goals that Modeste registered for the club last year. Now into early November, this calculation proved to be a big mistake and Köln’s management as a result has decided to part company with Schmadtke and strengthen head coach Peter Stöger’s position.
With the situation grim in both the Bundesliga and the Europa League Köln will likely focus on the Bundesliga rather than Europe, and as a result, BATE Borisov could be labelled the favourite for this match. But not all is well for Belarus’ most successful club either. With just three games to go BATE are currently third in the Belarusian Premier League behind Shakhtyor Soligorsk and Dinamo Minsk, there is a real possibility that someone other than BATE will be crowned champion of Belarus at the end of the season.
BATE will have to make up a four-point gap to leaders Shakhtyor in just three matches and with the threat of missing out on the title, and potentially Champions League football could choose to rotate the squad somewhat to rest players for the final stretch of the league. With both teams experiencing domestic problems minds could be elsewhere making it likely that this game could end in a dull draw.
Köln vs BATE Borisov – Player to look out for
Yuya Osako #13 – Köln
Signed from 1860 München in the summer of 2014 Osako has been a productive player for 1.FC Köln. The 27-year-old Japanese international scored seven goals and eight assists last season benefiting in large part from Anthony Modeste’s goalscoring exploits. Modeste has, however, left the club and with Modeste’s replacement, Jhon Cordoba first struggling and then going down with a long-term injury. The absence of Modeste and Cordoba means that more emphasis will be placed on Osako to get the job done both in the Bundesliga and in the Europa League.
Vitali Rodionov #20 – BATE Borisov
Vitali Rodionov is BATE Borisov’s most experienced player. The striker has been with the club since 2006 and only briefly left to play for SC Freiburg in the German Bundesliga. Joining Freiburg in January 2006 Rodionov, despite scoring four goals in 13 games, did not manage the big breakthrough and left the club in July of the same year. At BATE Borisov the Belarusian national team player can easily be described a legend. In 397 games he scored 157 goals and 73 assists. He also appeared 48 times for the Belarusian national team scoring ten goals.
Köln vs BATE Borisov – Match Stats
- Köln have lost their last four UEFA matches – three in Group H and one in the 1997 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
- BATE’s record in seven games against German clubs is W4 D1 L2. Their three matches in Germany have brought two defeats – both by 4-1 margins in the UEFA Champions League group stage – and one victory, a 1-0 success at 1860 München in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
- BATE’s seven games against German clubs have ended W4 D1 L2.
- Köln have lost their last three UEFA games – two in Group H and one in the 1997 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Köln vs BATE Borisov – 1-1
Köln vs BATE Borisov – Possible Lineups
Horn – Horn, Heintz, Meré, Sorensen – Lehmann, Özcan – Bittencourt, Osako – Zoller, Guirassy
Coach: Peter Stöger
Shcherbitski – Gayduchik, Milunovic, Polyakov – Dragun, Ivanic, Rios, Stasevich, Volodyko – Gordeychuk, Radionov
Coach: Aleksandr Yermakovich
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. 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 will be available in print soon. 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.