MX23RW : Sunday, December 6 00:28:15| >> :600:127454:127454:
Oct 23, 2020 at 7.30pm UK
StuttgartStuttgart
1-1
FC KolnFC Koln
Mangala (1')
Wamangituka (51'), Karazor (80')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Andersson (23' pen.)
Ehizibue (8'), Jakobs (55'), Duda (68'), Skhiri (72'), Ozcan (88')

Preview: Stuttgart vs FC Koln - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's match between Stuttgart and FC Koln, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Stuttgart take on FC Koln at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in the 2020-21 Bundesliga's Friday night game.

The two sides head into the match in contrasting form, with the hosts flying high in fifth place, and Koln currently sitting in the relegation playoff position with a solitary point from their opening four games.


Match preview

Union Berlin's Marvin Friedrich celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates as VfB Stuttgart's Gonzalo Castro looks dejected on May 23, 2019© Reuters

Stuttgart's superb 2-0 win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday took them to within three points of RB Leipzig in first place, which would have been beyond their wildest dreams having only been promoted from the German second tier last season.

Captain Gonzalo Castro - part of the Stuttgart side who were relegated in the 2018-19 campaign - was a real driving force in his side's victory at Hertha, regularly regaining possession and making forward runs before capping his performance with a superb strike from outside the area to seal the three points.

Sasa Kalajdzic will be disappointed not to have continued his goalscoring run, though, having struck the bar in the first half before missing missed a gilt-edged chance from close range in the second after brilliant work from Tanguy Coulibaly down the left wing.

With Castro, Coulibaly and Kalajdzic looking in excellent form and an organised defence capable of competing at this level, the sky is potentially the limit for this Stuttgart side.

Despite an excellent start to the campaign, however, it will be important Pellegrino Matarazzo keeps his side grounded, especially against a Koln side they will now be expected to beat. Matarazzo will also have noted that his team scored with both of their shots on target at Hertha, so creating more chances may be necessary in order to sustain this form in the long-term.

Koln head coach Markus Gisdol pictured on May 27, 2020© Reuters

Koln manager Markus Gisdol, meanwhile, will have been encouraged by his side picking up their first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend, with Ondrej Duda's second half strike cancelling out Andre Silva's first half penalty.

After Duda's header was superbly saved by opposition goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, though, Gisdol may have been disappointed his side could not end a dismal winless run which now stands at 14 league matches stretching back into last season.

Prior to the season, promoted Stuttgart may have been targeted as a winnable match by Gisdol and his side. While that remains the case, it is clearly a more unlikely prospect now given the hosts' current momentum and Koln's lack thereof.

Die Geissbocke were boosted by the return of talismanic figure Anthony Modeste as a late substitute against Frankfurt, however, with the 32-year-old making an instant impact by superbly controlling a long ball before narrowly missing the target from 30 yards. He could well prove to be the goalscorer required to turn competitive performances into results.

Stuttgart Bundesliga form: LWDW
Stuttgart form (all competitions): WLWDW

FC Koln Bundesliga form: LLLD
FC Koln form (all competitions): WLLLD


Team News

FC Koln players look dejected after their match against Hoffenheim on May 27, 2020© Reuters

Stuttgart's form is all the more impressive given that Matarazzo is currently without several first team players to choose from. Former Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos sustained a torn meniscus prior to the international break having been rushed back from injury in the draw against Bayer Leverkusen, so he joins Maxime Awoudja, who has a ruptured Achilles tendon, as a long-term absentee.

Clinton Mola's hip problems are ongoing, while Erik Thommy, Borna Sosa, Darko Churlinov, Roberto Massimo and Philipp Forster are all likely to miss the test against Koln through various knocks.

Koln may be struggling to pick up results but are at least healthier on the injury front, with captain Jonas Hector (neck) and Florian Kainz (knee) the only players likely to be missing for the trip to Stuttgart.

Gisdol's main dilemma is whether to throw Modeste straight into the starting XI or continue to rehabilitate him from the bench. Summer signing Sebastian Andersson is without a goal since his debut for the club on the opening day, so there will certainly be plenty of temptation to mix things up, but the likelihood is that he will persist with the Swedish striker at least once more while Modeste returns to full fitness.

Stuttgart possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Stenzel, Karazor, Kempf; Warnangituka, Mangala, Endo, Coulibaly; Didavi, Castro; Kalajdzic

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
T. Horn; Ehizube, Bornauw, Czichos, J. Horn; Skhiri; Wolf, Duda, Rexhbecaj, Jacobs; Andersson


SM words green background

We say: Stuttgart 2-1 FC Koln

Despite Koln's lack of points on the board, they have been competitive in every match so far and we don't expect that to be any different here.

However, Stuttgart head into this match with far more confidence and more in-form players in attacking areas. Coulibaly, Castro and Kalajdzic in particular caused Hertha Berlin real problems at times and could well earn their side three points once again.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

ID:419182:cQx

Who will win Friday's Bundesliga clash between Stuttgart and FC Koln?

Stuttgart
100%
Draw
0.0%
FC Koln
0.0%
2
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RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann pictured on May 27, 2020
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Saturday's Bundesliga predictions including RB Leipzig vs. Schalke 04
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bayern MunichBayern1072134161823
2RB Leipzig106312191221
3Borussia DortmundDortmund1061322101219
4Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen9540169719
5Wolfsburg104601610618
6Union BerlinUnion Berlin104422214816
7Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach104421916316
8Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt102711517-213
9Augsburg93331112-112
10Stuttgart92521715211
11Hertha Berlin103251819-111
12Werder Bremen92521315-211
13Hoffenheim92341516-19
14Freiburg101541222-108
15FC Koln101451217-57
16Arminia Bielefeld10217820-127
17Mainz 05101271224-125
18Schalke 04Schalke9036628-223

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