20:30 (CEST), Friday 25th August, RheinEneregieStadion (Cologne, Germany) BT Sport ESPN
Köln will look to get back to winning ways as they host Hamburg on Friday night. Hamburg couldn’t have gotten off to a better start to their league campaign as they were able to defeat Augsburg, whilst Köln struggled against Mönchengladbach in their first Bundesliga fixture of the season.
Last Time Out
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-0 Köln
Köln really struggled in Mönchengladbach and missed front man Anthony Modeste. Borussia defenders Matthias Ginter and Jannik Vestergaard had new front man Jhon Córdoba in their back pocket and the striker couldn’t take his chances.
Peter Stöger’s side would eventually fall behind just after halftime when Ibrahima Traoré played in Nico Elvedi to give the hosts all three points. It wasn’t an ideal start for Köln and the first result could showcase what may be a frustrating season for the Billy Goats.
Hamburg 1-0 Augsburg
After being embarrassed by 10-man VfL Osnabrück in the first round of the DFB Pokal, Hamburg went into their game with Augsburg in questionable spirits. But the hosts started perfectly when Nicolai Müller was able to squeeze the ball past Marwin Hitz in the Augsburg goal. But during his jubilation, Müller tore his anterior cruciate ligament and won’t see a return till late March, early April.
Hamburg were able to hold steady defensively with a brand new back four which featured three new players and they played excellently. It’s a huge win for Hamburg and Markus Gisdol who will be hoping to make it two from two on Friday night.
After a disappointing showing on the road, Peter Stöger will hope for home comfort on matchday 2. Jannes Horn
is set to make his first start for Köln after joining from Wolfsburg in the summer. Jhon Córdoba will be given plenty of time to succeed as he leads the line. Yuya Osako is still out with injury and remains a key out for Peter Stöger’s side.
Markus Gisdol was thrilled for his side as they were able to hold on to victory but the question remains if they can take something away in Köln. Nicolai Müller will miss at least 7 months after tearing his ACL in celebration, his replacement in the starting XI will most likely be Aaron Hunt. One change expected from HSV.
Key Battle: Jhon Córdoba vs Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Köln’s new front man Jhon Córdoba will look to have a more enjoyable time in the club’s home opener as he faces the strong Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos. Hamburg’s stand in captain was on fire and had Alfred Finnbogason in his back pocket as he was kept to only 2 shots on goal. Papadopoulos won 71% of his aerial duels against Augsburg
Córdoba created plenty of chances but failed to take any of them, 9 shots in total with 8 of them coming inside the 18-yard box. The Columbian cut a frustrated figure as he botched his chance to be a Köln hero in the Rhine Derby. Trying to emerge outside of Anthony Modeste’s shadow will be extremely difficult, can Córdoba take advantage of his chances or will Papadopoulos add the Columbian to his collection of scalps?
Creating a partnership
With André Hahn joining from Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hamburg have a player who is diverse and can play in a variety of attacking areas. Last week he partnered up with Bobby Wood to lead the line but really failed to assert themselves into the contest. Combined, Wood and Hahn produced 2 shots on the Augsburg goal in what was an unconvincing performance from the pair. Can either striker make a major impact on Friday?
Köln had plenty of opportunities to find twine against Borussia Mönchengladbach but failed to convert any as they succumbed to defeat. 13 shots on goal were taken with 10 from inside the 18-yard box but only 3 were able to hit the target as Yann Sommer had an easy outing last week. Christian Mathenia will hope for the same but can Köln test the Hamburg shot stopper or will it be the same as last week with shots hopelessly missing the target?
Prediction: Köln 1-1 Hamburg
Both sides had differing fortunes to start the season but with a blank canvas to start matchday 2, there is plenty of optimism heading into the clash. Köln will be hoping they can open their account for the season in front of their own fans whilst Hamburg will look to start the season with two wins. It should be a tight affair but chances will still come, but I believe neither side will assert themselves as a match winner with a draw on the cards.
Will it be Köln or Hamburg who take the points on Friday night? Let us know in the comments section below.
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