12:30 BST, Sunday 22nd October, RheinEnergieStadion (Cologne, Germany), BT Sport, ESPN
FC Köln and Werder Bremen are two sides who desperately need a win in Bundesliga this weekend. Both go into the with no wins on the board and they find themselves sitting 17th and 18th in the table respectively. Last time out in the league, Köln were beaten at the death by a Chadrac Akolo goal whilst Bremen couldn’t keep it together against a very ordinary Borussia Mönchengladbach side. A win for Köln could change their season for the better, whilst a Bremen victory will see them create a gap between themselves and this week’s opponents.
Last Time Out
BATE Borisov 1-0 Köln (Europa League)
Köln made the journey to Belarus in search of their first win in the Europa League when they took on BATE Borisov on Thursday night. The game itself, though, was largely disappointing as the first half resulted in no clear-cut chances with neither side able to test the goalkeepers at either end. On this showing, one goal would prove enough to win the game. Unfortunately for Köln this came against them as their defence failed to clear the ball, giving the opportunistic Aleksei Rios the chance to take all three points for the Belarussians.
Werder Bremen 0-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach (Bundesliga)
Werder Bremen welcomed Borussia Mönchengladbach to the Weser-Stadion hoping 8 would be the lucky number for them. The game began brightly enough for Bremen with Zlatko Junuzović making his first start since returning from a long-term injury. But the celebrations were cut short as Gladbach took the lead just before the half-hour mark thanks to an unreal turn and finish by Lars Stindl.
Moments later it was 2-0 to the visitors when Oscar Wendt’s corner was headed home by former Werder Bremen defender Jannik Vestergaard. In then end, Bremen offered little as they succumbed to a 4th defeat of the season.
Peter Stöger is likely to start a similar side the one that lost in the league to Stuttgart. At least four first-team regulars are out for Köln meaning that many of Stöger’s team will be expected to do double duty this weekend.
Werder Bremen Lineup
Once again, Werder Bremen will be without Theodor Gebre Selassie who has had an injection to try and solve an on-going injury issue. Robert Bauer will deputize in the right wing back role. Bremen will also be without Max Kruse who suffered a broken collarbone recently. His return is still a month away.
Key Battle: Matthias Lehmann vs Zlatko Junuzović
Matthias Lehmann must lead his Köln side in midfield if they are a chance of securing their first win of the season. The club captain has been anonymous for his team so far and now would be a good time for him to kick into gear. This season, Lehmann has completed 351 passes with an 82% completion rate which is down from his numbers from last season. Köln will need more from their leader against Bremen on Sunday.
Zlatko Junuzović is a pivotal part of Bremen’s midfield and he has been greatly missed this season. The Austrian midfielder was absent in the opening six matches of the season due to an Achilles tendon injury picked up at the end of last year. He plays an important role in helping Thomas Delaney in build-up play and moving Werder forward. Look for Bremen’s number 16 to play a big role in this encounter.
Jobs on the line
Both Peter Stöger and Alexander Nouri are fighting for their jobs and a defeat for either manager could see them shown the door by Monday. It’s believed Nouri has been given the Gladbach and the Köln clash to turn Bremen’s season around whilst it’s still unknown how long Stöger has in charge of Köln. A defeat is not an option for either manager if they want to remain in the Bundesliga.
Prediction: Köln 1-1 Werder Bremen
With Köln and Bremen taking up the relegation zone as it stands, this clash will be one to watch with both clubs desperate to get their first win of the season. Both have been hit by injury, though, and those who have filled in for injury will need to play well to carry their team over the line. However, with both sides struggling to score prolifically, the points are likely to be shared.
Who will break their duck and win between Köln and Werder Bremen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below
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