MX23RW : Friday, February 26 21:53:37| >> :120:33767:33767:
Jan 24, 2021 at 5pm UK at Rhein-Neckar-Arena
HoffenheimHoffenheim
3-0
FC KolnFC Koln
Kramaric (7' pen., 75' pen.), Baumgartner (28')
Bebou (13'), Posch (52')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Cestic (6'), Skhiri (56'), Mere (63')

Preview: Hoffenheim vs. FC Koln - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Bundesliga clash between Hoffenheim and FC Koln, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Hoffenheim take on FC Koln in the Bundesliga on Sunday, with the hosts looking to put more distance between themselves and their forthcoming opponents, who currently occupy the relegation playoff position in the table.

Both sides are coming off the back of morale boosting victories in midweek, so it could be a higher quality affair than perhaps anticipated.


Match preview

Hoffenheim coach Sebastian Hoeness pictured on January 9, 2021© Reuters

After a domestic season blighted by injuries and inconsistency, Hoffenheim will hope that the worst is now behind them after Tuesday's excellent 3-0 victory at Hertha Berlin.

After Sebastian Rudy fired the visitors ahead in the first half, Sebastian Hoeness's side were allowed to play in a manner which suits them most in terms of transitioning quickly whenever the opportunities for them arose to do so.

Perhaps more of a crucial factor, though, was Andrej Kramaric looking back to his best. The Croatian forward scored his first brace since leading the sensational 4-3 victory over Bayern Munich in September, with Hoeness utilising him higher up the pitch than in recent weeks due to the return of several players from injury.

With a more solid platform behind him, Kramaric should now be allowed to shine once again, which can only lead to more consistently positive results for Hoffenheim in the coming weeks.

FC Koln manager Markus Gisdol pictured in May 2020© Reuters

After failing to win any of their previous five league games, FC Koln looked in danger of becoming marooned in 16th position at best this season.

As such, Wednesday's fixture against bottom placed Schalke 04 was a huge relegation six-pointer for both teams, with Jan Thielmann's last-minute winner earning Markus Gisdol's side a vital 2-1 win.

Rafael Czichos had fired the visitors into the lead but, after Matthew Hoppe scored his fifth goal in three games for Schalke after the break, the match looked as though it was fizzling out for a point apiece.

Thielmann's winner, however, leaves 16th-placed Koln only four points behind their forthcoming opponents Hoffenheim, who are 11th, with a whole host of teams now looking to avoid finishing in that dreaded relegation playoff position.

Hoffenheim Bundesliga form: LWLLDW
Hoffenheim form (all competitions): WLLLDW

FC Koln Bundesliga form: LDLLDW
FC Koln form (all competitions): DWLLDW


Team News

Hoffenheim midfielder Dennis Geiger pictured in action in January 2019© Reuters

Hoffenheim injury list remains lengthy, with Robert Skov, Kevin Akpoguma, Florian Grillitsch, Dennis Geiger, Pavel Kaderabek, Ermin Bicakcic, Benjamin Hubner and Kostas Stafylidis all unlikely to feature against Koln.

Thankfully for Hoeness, though, Kevin Vogt's injury scare in the draw against Arminia proved to be more minor than expected, with the central defender lasting 60 minutes against Hertha.

Koln's Sebastian Andersson and Florian Kainz are unlikely to travel to Hoffenheim due to knee injuries, but both could return to first-team action by the end of January.

Otherwise, Gisdol appears to have no injury concerns, with the 51-year-old likely to stick with the same XI which defeated Schalke.

Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Baumann; Kasim, Vogt, Posch; Gacinovic, Rudy, Samassekou, Baumgartner, John; Kramaric, Dabour

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
T. Horn; Cestic, Bornauw, Czichos; Ehizibue, Hector, Skhiri, J. Horn; Wolf, Drexler; Duda


SM words green background

We say: Hoffenheim 2-1 FC Koln

With Kramaric looking close to his best once again, we can envisage Hoffenheim putting serious distance between themselves and the relegation zone with a crucial victory.

Any victory for either side is unlikely to be by a big margin, though, with Koln regularly remaining competitive in games this season.


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:431635:cQx:QQ:

How you voted: Hoffenheim vs FC Koln

Hoffenheim
70.9%
Draw
12.7%
FC Koln
16.4%
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Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic reacts on January 9, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bayern MunichBayern22154362313149
2RB Leipzig22145340182247
3Wolfsburg22119235191642
4Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt23119346321442
5Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen22107540241637
6Borussia DortmundDortmund22113845311436
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin2289535251033
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach228953833533
9Freiburg228773534131
10Stuttgart227873935429
11Hoffenheim2275103639-326
12Werder Bremen226882632-626
13Augsburg2265112235-1323
14FC Koln2256112036-1621
15Hertha Berlin2246122640-1418
16Arminia Bielefeld2153131838-2018
17Mainz 052245132343-2017
18Schalke 04Schalke2216151556-419

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