19:30 (BST); Friday 13th October; Mercedes-Benz Arena (Stuttgart, Germany) BT Sport ESPN
Stuttgart have been very strong at home and they will look to continue that trend as they welcome Köln to the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Köln have had a disastrous start to the season as they enter Week 8 of the Bundesliga as one of two sides yet to win this season. A win for Stuttgart could see them jump to 10th whilst Köln will unfortunately remain at the foot of the table even if they take the points on Friday night.
Last time out
Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Stuttgart
Stuttgart looked to secure their first away points of the season as they faced Eintracht Frankfurt prior to the international break. In a tight opening 45 it would be Frankfurt who would open the scoring just minutes before halftime when Ante Rebić was in the right place at the right time. Stuttgart were on it in the second half and just after the hour mark they would equalise.
Simon Terodde, who had only been on the pitch for 37 seconds, heading home his first Bundesliga goal of the season. Stuttgart were in the driving seat and when Simon Falette was sent off, you felt as if Hannes Wolf’s side would come away with at least a point. But in the final minute of stoppage time Sebastien Haller’s audacious bicycle kick beat Ron-Robert Zieler at his near post to see Stuttgart leave with nothing.
Köln 1-2 RB Leipzig
Winless Köln hoped for their first win of the campaign as they welcomed RB Leipzig in the final match of Week 7. However, it would be Leipzig who would jump Köln and on the half hour mark Lukas Klostermann was left unmarked to beat Timo Horn at his near post. Horn was exceptional throughout the contest saving Köln’s bacon on more than one occasion.
Köln were better in the second half with an attitude that was seeking the equalising goal and their best chance fell to Jhon Córdoba who was played in but his hamstring gave way. Claudio Pizarro would come on in the Columbians place. On 81 minutes Leipzig would score their second when Yussuf Poulsen found the back of the net. Köln scored a consolation goal three minutes later through Yuya Osako but it wasn’t enough.
Although Stuttgart left Frankfurt with nothing in a hard fought encounter, there were plenty of positive for Hannes Wolf to look for with his side’s performance. We expect to see a 3-4-3 formation used by Wolf with the two attacking wide players playing narrow without possession. Daniel Ginczek will once again start up front for Stuttgart with goal scorer Simon Terodde settling for a place on the bench.
Peter Stöger is desperate for a win with time slowly winding down on his coaching tenure with Köln, a defeat would almost see the Austrian on the outs. Köln will be without Jhon Córdoba after injuring his hamstring last time out against RB Leipzig. 39-year-old Claudio Pizarro is set to make his first start since April. A 4-4-2 is expected to be implemented by Peter Stöger in Stuttgart.
Key Battle: Anastasios Donis vs Konstantin Rausch
Anastasios Donis applied his trade in Ligue 1 last season with Nice on loan from Juventus, but since joining from the Italian champions the Greek has been a solid acquisition by Stuttgart in the closed window. The Greek international was brought in as a striker but has played mostly out wide and to great effect. Donis has looked dangerous going forward and he will look to open his account against the worst defence in the league.
Konstantin Rausch is a pivotal part of the Köln lineup and with the injury to Jonas Hector, The Köln left back faces a massive year after declaring his intentions to play for Russia at international level, with the World Cup coming up next year Rausch will strive to be apart of the squad of 23. Rausch faces a stern test in Donis in what will be a fascinating battle to watch.
Hannes Wolf loves to play with wing backs and in their clash with Köln, both Dennis Aogo and Andreas Beck provide plenty of width going forward. Aogo in particular, plays a more expansive role going forward and throughout this season we have seen the former Schalke left back going box to box. Beck plays a more conservative role where he will sit back more. Both play an important role in this clash.
Claudio Pizarro will be thrown into the deep end as he is set to start due to the injury to Jhon Córdoba. It’s well noted how much Köln have struggled without Anthony Modeste with Fredrick Sørensen and Yuya Osako scoring the only goals for Peter Stöger’s side this season. The 39-year-old Peruvian was without a club at the start of the season but he will be entrusted to get it going for a Köln that desperately needs a spark
Prediction: Stuttgart 0-0 Köln
Stuttgart have been excellent at home throughout the opening seven matchdays as they are yet to concede at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The challenge for the Swabians will be to convert their chances as they have only scored twice in front of their fans this season. Köln have had massive troubles finding the back of the net scoring only two goals in their opening seven. They need a big contribution from all if they are chance. I believe it will be a defensive struggle with the scores all square come full time.
Can Stuttgart maintain its unbeaten run at home or will Köln secure their first win of the season? Let us know in the comments section below
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