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Mar 13, 2021 at 2.30pm UK at Stadion An der Alten Försterei
Union BerlinUnion Berlin
2-1
FC KolnFC Koln
Kruse (48' pen.), Trimmel (67')
Musa (32'), Andrich (88')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Duda (45+2' pen.)
Horn (11'), Ozcan (81'), Skhiri (85')

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

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

Union Berlin take on FC Koln in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the visitors looking to increase their current safety cushion of three points above the relegation zone.

The hosts, meanwhile, need to avoid defeat to guarantee that they will remain in the top half of the table by the end of the weekend.


Match preview

Union Berlin coach Urs Fischer reacts in February 2021© Reuters

Union Berlin were frustrated in a 0-0 draw with Arminia Bielefeld last weekend, with Urs Fischer's side dominating possession but unable to find the breakthrough.

Finding more creativity and potency against sides who are predominantly content to sit back and let them have the ball may prove to be the next stage of Union Berlin's development, with their superb second season in the Bundesliga clearly commanding greater respect from many of their opponents.

In fairness, substitute Keita Endo squandered two golden opportunities to snatch the three points for Fischer's side in the second half, first curling the ball narrowly wide of the post having been played through on goal, before striking too closely to Stefan Ortega after an excellent cutback from the right flank.

Fischer's side are unlikely to find more space in behind Koln's defence on Saturday, with the visitors preferring to play in transition, too. The 55-year-old will hope that his players are becoming more experienced in dealing with such gameplans, though, and that they can be more ruthless in front of goal.

FC Koln players celebrate scoring against Union Berlin on November 22, 2020© Reuters

After a run of three straight defeats, Markus Gisdol would have felt an almighty sense of relief when captain Jonas Hector salvaged a deserved point with an 83rd-minute equaliser against Werder Bremen last weekend.

Florian Kohfeldt's visitors showed very little attacking ambition throughout the match, with Joshua Sargent meeting Milot Rashica's superb cross with a fine header past Timo Horn at the goalkeeper's near post to break the deadlock after the hour mark.

Koln looked to be running out of ideas against Bremen's organised defence, restricted to several strikes from distance, until Jiri Pavlenka spilled Noah Katterback's fairly harmless cross from the left flank. Substitute Hector could not believe his fortune when the ball fell to him 12 yards from goal with an empty net to tap into.

That point could prove crucial come the end of the campaign as, with Arminia losing 2-0 to Bremen in midweek, Gisdol's side have a three-point cushion above the relegation zone, allowing them one worse result than their rivals between now and the end of the season in order to survive.

Union Berlin Bundesliga form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D

FC Koln Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

FC Koln form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D


Team News

Union Berlin's Loris Karius pictured on February 13, 2021© Reuters

Union Berlin are likely to remain without Christopher Lenz, Taiwo Awoniyi, Sheraldo Becker, Anthony Ujah and Niko Giesselmann through injury.

Andreas Luthe suffered a blow to the head during the draw with Arminia, with Loris Karius waiting in the wings to deputise for him once more, but the 34-year-old should be fine to start.

Koln, meanwhile, will travel to Berlin without the injured duo of Florian Kainz and Sebastian Bornauw.

However, Sebastian Andersson is back in training and could feature from the bench.

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Luthe; Trimmel, Freidrich, Knoche, Ryerson; Ingvartsen, Andrich, Promel, Bulter; Kruse, Pohjanpalo

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
T. Horn; Wolf, Mere, J. Horn, Katterbach; Thielmann, Duda, Skhiri, Jakobs; Rexhbecaj, Dennis


SM words green background

We say: Union Berlin 1-1 FC Koln

We can envisage a low-scoring draw between two sides who are probably closer in ability than the league table would suggest, with Koln likely to be content with another point as they look to avoid relegation this season.

Union Berlin look less threatening without the pace of Becker and Awoniyi in attack, so may struggle to stretch Koln's defence.



Top 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


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Union Berlin's Loris Karius pictured on February 13, 2021
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Monday's key events


ATHLETICS
· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

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FOOTBALL
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CYCLING
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ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
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