Köln vs Hertha – Sunday, November 26, 17:00GMT/18:00CET – RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany
There is life in this Köln side after all. Without a win in 12 Bundesliga games this season Köln are dead-last with just two points. But on Thursday they recorded their second win in a row in the Europa League by beating Arsenal 1-0. The result means that a draw on matchday 6 of the Europa League against Red Star Belgrade could be enough to see the effzeh advance to the round of 32.
While the result will have given Köln confidence that the reality, however, is that it was a mediocre game by the Billy Goats against Arsenal. Facing an experimental Arsenal side Köln’s decision making in midfield was poor and the three strikers Jhon Cordoba Yuya Osako and Sehrou Guirassy were not given the support needed from midfield to coordinate proper attacking moves.
Another factor was also the disjointed play of the three strikers. Osako, in particular, highlighted on several occasions that there is no chemistry between the forward line by making the wrong decisions continuously when it came to overlapping runs. In the end, it was a penalty that got Köln the victory and the hope to at least advance in the Europa League.
As for the Bundesliga, Peter Stöger has recently admitted that the only goal remaining is to secure at least 16th spot, which would qualify Köln for the relegation playoffs at the end of the season. At first, glance staying in the league seems unrealistic given that the club has collected just two points from 12 games. But on a second glance, Köln are just six points behind 16th placed Werder Bremen and with 22 games remaining there is enough time to close that gap.
To do so, they will have to record their first win against a Hertha side that disappointed in the Europa League on Thursday. Hertha were in front twice against Athletic Bilbao but ended up losing the match 3-2. The result means that Hertha are now out of the competition and can focus on the Bundesliga where they are just 14th.
With 14 points in 12 games Hertha, however, still belong to the mid-table pack of clubs in the standing that on the one hand have hopes for the Europa League, but also have to keep a watchful eye on the relegation spots. A defeat against Köln, in fact, could close the gap to 16th placed Werder to just three points and put Hertha in relegation worries.
Köln vs Hertha – Players to look out for:
Matthias Lehmann #33 – Köln
Matthias Lehmann returned to regular play against Arsenal on Thursday. The midfielder has been absent with injuries at times this season and has been missed in Köln’s midfield. Köln have lacked structure at times and Matze Lehmann should be able to bring some order to Köln’s play.
Valentino Lazaro #20 – Hertha
Initially signed on loan from Red Bull Salzburg this summer Valentino Lazaro has overcome an early injury to establish himself in Hertha’s starting eleven. As a result, Hertha have already triggered his buyout clause making a move from Salzburg permanent. A quick and versatile attacking winger Lazaro brings the creative attacking spark that Hertha have lacked in recent years.
Köln vs Hertha – Match Stats
- Köln and Hertha are separated by 12 points the biggest gap between 14th and 18th place on matchday 12 since the introduction of the three-point rule in 1995.
- With 40 shots per goal Köln are the most inefficient side in the Bundesliga.
- Newly signed Jhon Cordoba had 24 shots on goal without scoring.
- Köln’s home record against Hertha is W18 D2 L7
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Köln vs Hertha 2-0
Köln vs Hertha – Lineups
T. Horn – Klünter, Jorge Meré, Maroh, Rausch – Lehmann, Özcan – Bittencourt, Jojić – Osako, Guirassy
Head Coach: Peter Stöger
Jarstein – Weiser, Langkamp, Rekik, Plattenhardt – Maier, Skjelbred – Leckie, Lazaro, Kalou – Ibisević
Head Coach: Pal Dardai
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.