MX23RW : Sunday, July 25 22:53:20| >> :600:5119727:5119727:
Nov 22, 2020 at 5pm UK at RheinEnergieStadion
FC KolnFC Koln
1-2
Union BerlinUnion Berlin
Skhiri (36')
Duda (31')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Awoniyi (27'), Kruse (72')
Ingvartsen (35'), Giesselmann (90+4')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Bundesliga match between FC Koln and Union Berlin, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

FC Koln entertain Union Berlin in the Bundesliga on Sunday with the hosts looking to gain a positive result and move out of the relegation zone.

Union Berlin, however, are only looking upwards after moving into fifth place in the table with a thumping 5-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld prior to the international break.


Match preview

Ismail Jakobs in action for Koln against RB Leipzig on June 1, 2020© Reuters

Having lost their opening four games of the season, Koln's results and performances have both picked up in recent weeks, with Markus Gisdol's side drawing three of their last four matches and only marginally losing 2-1 to Bayern Munich in the other match in that run.

The most recent of those results came in a 1-1 draw at Werder Bremen prior to the international break, with Gisdol disappointed that his side could not hold onto their lead. After losing goalkeeper Timo Horn to injury in the first half, Ondrej Duda's free kick was inadvertently turned into his own net by Bremen captain Niklas Moisander to hand the struggling visitors the lead.

However, a clumsy handball saw Koln concede their fifth penalty in seven league matches already this season, with former Koln player Leonardo Bittencourt duly dispatching from the spot. In the end, Koln were perhaps grateful to walk away with a point after Joshua Sargent's tame header sailed into the hands of Horn's replacement Ron-Robert Zieler late in the game.

Still looking for their first league win of the season, Gisdol and his players will be hoping it finally arrives this weekend, but it will certainly not be easy against an in-form Union Berlin side.

Union Berlin manager Urs Fischer pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Indeed, Urs Fischer's side are flying at present, having taken 12 points from their last six league matches to remain unbeaten since losing on the opening day of the season.

Having survived relegation in their first ever top flight campaign last season, the 5-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld saw them reach new heights last time out. It was little surprise to see Max Kruse at the heart of everything, with the 32-year-old one of the stand-out players of the Bundesliga season so far. He surely cannot be too far away from a first call-up to the German national team squad since 2015.

Kruse's through-ball for Sheraldo Becker was timed to perfection, with the onrushing winger adjudged to have been marginally onside before squaring the ball for Keita Endo to open the scoring in only the third minute. Robert Andrich doubled his side's lead with a powerful first-time strike from the edge of the area after Kruse's excellent pull-back, before Kruse once again found Becker, who this time elected to shoot to give Union Berlin a 3-0 lead heading into the break.

After Amos Pieper brought down Akaki Gogia in the penalty area in the 52nd minute, Kruse was presented with the chance to dispatch his 16th Bundesliga penalty from 16 attempts and duly obliged. With only a few minutes remaining, Gogia's delightful scooped through ball found Cedric Teuchert to put even more gloss on an outstanding victory, and take Fischer's side to the heady heights of fifth place in the table.

FC Koln Bundesliga form: LLDDLW

Union Berlin Bundesliga form: DWDDWW


Team News

Koln manager Markus Gisdol pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Gisdol appears to be without captain Jonas Hector and Florian Kainz for their upcoming vital fixture, with neck and knee injuries respectively keeping the duo sidelined.

Veteran forward Anthony Modeste, meanwhile, is doubtful due to a back issue, but Horn should be fit to start in goal after shaking off his hip injury sustained against Bremen.

Fischer is also likely to be without three players in the shape of Joel Pohjanpalo (ankle), Anthony Ujah (knee) and Marius Bulter (coronavirus).

Fischer may choose to bring Teuchert into the side for the injured Pohjanpalo after the French forward scored late on against Arminia.

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
Horn; Wolf, Bornauw, Czichos, Katterbach; Limnios, Duda, Ozcan, Drexler, Jakobs; Andersson

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Luthe; Trimmel, Friedrich, Knoche, Lenz; Gentner, Andrich; Becker, Kruse, Endo; Teuchert


SM words green background

We say: FC Koln 1-2 Union Berlin

Despite losing four of their seven matches this season, Koln have been competitive in every match and we expect no different here.

However, with Kruse in his most impressive form for years and Union Berlin playing some very impressive football in recent weeks, Fischer's side could have the edge.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data


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Monday's key events


TRIATHLON
· Jonny Brownlee will look to make the most of his brother Alistair's absence as he goes for gold in the men's triathlon (10.30pm-1am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB get their campaign underway with two matches, against Canada and Japan (from 1.30am)

SWIMMING
· One of Team GB's biggest gold medal hopes, Adam Peaty, will take part in the 100m breaststroke final. (3.12am)
· Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky go head to head for gold in the women's 400m freestyle final (3.20am)

DIVING
· Tom Daley and Matty Lee take part in the men's 10m synchro final (7am-8am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· The men's team final takes place (11am)

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