Twelfth-placed Billy Goats host Bundesliga title contenders The Red Bulls in the Saturday.
The Die Geißböcke, i.e, FC Koln led by Steffen Baumgart, will be taking on Marco Rose’s third-placed, RB Leipzig, in a huge clash in Matchday 19, in the Bundesliga. The extended winter break post the World Cup seems to have done both sides a huge relief. As both are unbeaten since the restart of the Bundesliga in January 2023.
Both Leipzig and Koln have been buoyed by identical results against favourites FC Bayern, with a scoreline of 1-1. For FC Koln, it all started with a hammering 7-1 win against mid-table Werder Bremen. With multiple goal contributions from key men, Tigges, and Maina and a brace and assist from the Influential Elles Skhiri. They also have the 9th best home record in the Bundesliga with four wins two draws and two losses. However, they also boast the joint- third-best home defence in the league, only conceding 10 goals.
Hence, Marco Rose’s in-form RB Leipzig side will have their task cut out, away from home in the loud RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne. The “Die Rotten Bullen” will also be looking to dominate possession and keep the tempo of the match in check against the noisy home fans, with a rejuvenated FC Koln side looking to build momentum upon positive results. They’ll be relying on the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai, and Emil Forsberg to deliver the goods away from home as they look to cope without the side’s top scorer Christopher Nkunku, who’ll be sidelined at the weekend with a knee injury.
Kick-off: Saturday, 04-02-2023, 8:00 pm (IST), 2.30 pm (GMT)
FC Koln form (all competitions): L-L-W-D-D
RB Leipzig form (all competitions): W-W-D-W-W
Players to watch-out
The Tunusian World Cup star performer has been a key influence in midfield for the Rhein-side as Stephan Baumgart has relied on his passing and leadership in central midfield to dictate the play and carry out his tactical plans in games. With an average match rating of 7.39, according to FotMob, he’s amongst the top 25 highest rated players this season, in the Bundesliga, with three assists and a goal notched to his name in 2022/23.
The former Montpellier midfielder was incredibly influential for his National Team Tunisia, in the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar, in 2022, and also helped his side pull off a famous 1-0 win over World Cup finalists France in the group stage. Any attempt to upset the RB Leipzig form train would require him to be at his absolute best this weekend.
The Austrian midfielder was seen in incredible form in the recently concluded DFB Pokal match against Hoffenheim, contributing with a goal and an assist, in the 3-1 win at home, in the round of 16. The defensive midfielder, an all action dynamo who’ll run and press all evening to ensure the high intensity style.
Having sealed a free summer move to league leading rivals Bayern Munich, in the January 2023 transfer window, according to the Kicker, he’s matched the latest display with a man of the match effort to lead his side through to the next round. Playing in a double pivot alongside his Austrian teammate Xaver Schlager, seems to have brought out the best of him in consolidating the Leipzig midfield and allowing flair players such as Szoboszlai, Forsberg and Nkunku etc, to shine. He’ll be the one to keep an eye on this weekend, for sure.
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Team News and Injury news
FC Koln: Andersson (knee), Dietz (cruciate ligament), Kilian (muscular), Limnios (cruciate ligament), Pedersen (muscular), Uth (pelvis)
RB Leipzig: Diallo (knee), Gulacsi (knee), Nkunku (knee), Olmo (thigh)
FC Koln: 2
RB Leipzig : 5
FC Koln predicted lineup : (4-2-3-1)
Schwäbe; Schmitz, Hübers, Chabot, Hector(C); Skhiri, Martel; Maina, Huseinbasic, Kainz , Tigges
RB Leipzig predicted lineup: (4-2-2-2)
Blaswich; Henrichs, Orban(C), Gvardiol, Raum; Laimer, Schlager, Szoboszlai, Forsberg , Silva, Werner
Marco Rose’s side are unbeaten in the all competitions since September 2022, with a record of 17 wins and 3 losses since their last loss. They look the team to be reckoned with after table toppers Bayern surprisingly drew against FC Koln at home, last Wednesday, on January 25th. However, the RedBull Leipzig train doesn’t look like taking any stops, even in Cologne, and should be strong enough, without top performers Christopher Nkunku and Dani Olmo and notch a crucial victory at the top of the Bundesliga table.
Prediction: FC Koln 1- 2 RB Leipzig
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