Professionals | 24/01/2021

Matchday 18

Preview ahead of the trip to Hoffenheim

1. FC Köln start the second half of the season against TSG Hoffenheim at the PreZero Arena this evening. Both sides will be hoping to build on the performances from during the week.

Form check

TSG Hoffenheim: After a tough run of late, Hoffenheim managed to get back to winning ways against Hertha BSC. An Andrej Kramaric brace and Sebastian Rudy’s effort got Sebastian Hoeness’ side their first three points in 2021. Hoffenheim have also managed to keep two clean sheets in a row, with Oliver Baumann saving yet another penalty. They key will be continuing that into the coming games.

1. FC Köln: After starting 2021 with two defeats and a draw against Hertha BSC, Markus Gisdol’s FC got back on track with a 2:1 win over FC Schalke 04. Jan Thielmann’s last-gasp winner secured all three points, as the game looked destined for a draw. Having taken 12 of their 15 points from away matches this season, a win at the weekend would see FC top their away points tally from last term.

The managers have had their say

Sebastian Hoeness: “Köln are dangerous from set-pieces. But after conceding the equaliser, they were visibly struggling and came under pressure. They withstood it and won the game late on. That speaks volumes, but we've also seen that the team are vulnerable when under constant pressure.”

Markus Gisdol: “We’ve just finished the first half of the season and that’s something people forget with all the games we’ve had in January. I’m not a friend of looking at the table or looking at statistics and putting too much meaning on that, I try to evaluate things and stay level-headed.”

Squad update

TSG Hoffenheim: Kevin Vogt is a real doubt after picking up a shoulder injury against Hertha BSC: He does not require an operation, however. Pavel Kaderabek could be an option for Hoffenheim once more following his return to training.

1. FC Köln: Florian Kainz has returned to individual training during the week to begin his road to recovery on the pitch. Sebastian Andersson is still injured and will miss the trip to Hoffenheim.

Opposition dangerman

Andrej Kramaric is the main man when it comes to Hoffenheim’s attack. The forward has already hit double figures this season and is back on form after scoring twice against Hertha during the week. His brace on Tuesday meant that he moved level with Ivica Olic on 72 Bundesliga goals, tied as the most successful Croatian goalscorer in league history.

Recent record

FC have found things tough against Hoffenheim in recent years. The last five games have gone in favour of today’s hosts, with FC last earning a point against Hoffenheim back in April 2017. FC’s last victory against Hoffenheim came in April 2015, a season where FC recorded victories in both Köln and Sinsheim.

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Total table
13FC Augsburg23
141. FC Köln21
15Hertha BSC18