1.FC Köln vs Gladbach – Saturday 13:30GMT/15:30CEST – RheinEnergieSTADION, Cologne.
The Rhine derby brings together two of the Bundesliga’s past giants. During the 1960s, and 1970s this fixture witnessed a clash of the leagues two in form sides. With modern form not replicating the title fights of the early Bundesliga days, it is nevertheless an important fixture to all who live in the Rhineland.
Köln have had a disjointed Rückrunde which has led to them flat-lining over recent months. A good start to the season saw them reach as high as second before a drop off in form saw them retreat down the table to seventh. It is here in seventh that Köln then stagnated, spending a full third of the season just outside the Europa League qualification slots. However, since mid-March the Billy Goats have managed to pick up seven points from 12 which has seen them rise into fifth.
Although Champions League looks now impossible—they are ten points off fourth placed Dortmund—they do find themselves locked into a four way fight this matchday for that fifth slot. With 40 points Köln will nervously look down to Eintracht Frankfurt, who are in eighth, on 37 points. A slip at home to resurgent Gladbach could witness Die Geißböcke fall down the table again. Something head coach Peter Stöger will be keen to avoid. With back to back victories not registered since early February a good win midweek versus Frankfurt must be built upon should the team in white have any real Europa League qualification aspirations.
Gladbach have been on a steady trajectory since Dieter Hecking took during the winter break. Die Fohlen, who had relegation concerns in December now find themselves in with a real shout of Europa League qualification—they are four points behind both Hertha and their hosts today who equally sit on 40 points. Having negotiated a sailing path out of choppy waters Hecking will be keen to take another three points of potential European qualification rivals.
Matchday 27 saw The Foals take maximum points from Hertha Berlin and another three here in Cologne would put the team from just down the road in a strong positon. Gladbach had taken 18 points from a possible 21 on offer before back to back defeats against Hamburg and Bayern München halted a renaissance six weeks for the team from Borussia-Park. Narrowly missing out on a Europa League quarterfinal place to fellow Bundesliga side Schalke 04 coincided with a drop of league form—however, with a slump in form avoided thanks to a draw on Matchday 26 they now have a good chance to capture six points from six in what promises to be a hotly contested derby.
Köln vs Gladbach – Players to look out for:
Anthony Modeste #27 – 1. FC Köln
Modeste has been in scintillating form this season. Averaging a goal every 107 minutes his currently sits third in the race for the Torjägerkanone, with 22 goals in 27 Bundesliga appearances. He brings a power and strength to this Köln side that makes them a danger in the air. Modeste has used his 187cm height to good effect in countless aerial duels this season, most notably with two excellent headed goals against Freiburg. His success at finding the net has given rise to a new nickname—when the stadium announcer shouts his name “Anthony Modeste” the Köln faithful reply with “Fußballgott”. They will be hoping for divine intervention again from the Frenchman on Matchday 26.
Lars Stindl #13 – Borussia Mönchengladbach
Stindl is one of the many Gladbach players who benefited from the arrival of Dieter Hecking. Die Fohlen’s captain has notched four goals and three assists in the eight Bundesliga games he’s featured in since Hecking’s arrival. Finding himself in a more advanced ‘second striker’ role for much of the Rückrunde, Stindl has displayed an ability to finish as well as set up those around him. A hip injury sustained in the Europa League fixture versus Schalke 04 saw him miss both Matchday 24 and 25 – however, a quick recovery ensured he was back in action for Matchday 26, helping The Foals to a point versus Eintracht Frankfurt. The last Matchday versus Hertha Berlin he was influential again, proving the crucial assist that saw Hertha Berlin defeated 1:0 during the englische Woche.
Köln vs Gladbach – Match Stats
- This is the 86th Bundesliga meeting between Köln and Gladbach. The hosts only have 23 wins from the 86 encounters. Gladbach have exactly double that with 46.
- Köln have lost just once this season at home, to Bayern München 3:0 on Matchday 23.
- Gladbach have scored more goals against Köln than any other Bundesliga side – The Billy Goats have seen the Gladbach ball hit their net 169 times.
- Die Geißböcke stand 5th in the table, equal on points with Hertha Berlin.
- Die Fohlen are W6 L1 D3 from their last 10 away fixtures.
Prediction: Köln vs Gladbach 1:2
Horn; Klünter, Sörensen, Heintz, Hector; Höger, Lehmann; Clemens Jojic Rausch; Modeste
Coach: Peter Stöger
Formation: 4-4-2 (double 6)
Sommer; Elvedi, Vestergaard, Christensen, Wendt; Benes, Dahoud; Herrmann, Hofmann; Hazard, Stindl
Coach: Dieter Hecking