⚽ E. Skhiri (7), ⚽ E. Martel (16), ⚽ L. Maina (59)
By Jonathan Dicks @Jonathan_Dicks
These two scrappy clubs aren’t fully out of the relegation battle quite yet and Matchday 27 presents a huge opportunity for the table rivals to distance themselves from the bottom three.
|Steffen Baumgart.||Photo: Sandro Halank, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0|
At 12th in the league, the Bavarian club feel somewhat safe with eight points separating themselves and the relegation playoff spot. Augsburg still need a few more points to finish off the season and they’ve been impressive at home, without a loss at the WWK Arena in 2023.
Augsburg blew another late lead against Wolfsburg last week, which has been quite the issue for Enrico Maaßen’s side in this campaign. They’ll need newly-minted German international Mërgim Berisha to get inside the heads of opposing defenders this weekend with Ermedin Demirovic still suspended.
Maaßen said, “Köln are a team that play very intensively. They take the most crosses in the league and were clearly better in the game against Gladbach. We need our best performance and need the fans with us.”
Demirovic, Reece Oxford and Mads Pedersen are all suspended on Saturday. Tobias Strobl, Andre Hahn, Niklas Dorsch and Kelvin Yeboah are injured.
Following their 3-0 win over Frankfurt back on February 12th, Köln have scored just one goal since. Wow. It’s been a disastrous second half of the season for the club, who now find themselves in a dangerous position with the relegation zone climbing closer and closer each week.
Goals are everything as Köln need Florian Kainz and Ellyes Skhiri to find their form once again. With a transfer ban looming and games against the likes of Leverkusen and Bayern ahead, Köln must pick up at least a point against their current table rivals.
Steffen Baumgart stated, “What we’re seeing in training, that isn’t what was on the pitch at the weekend, especially in terms of finishing. However, we’ve had games of late where the goalkeeper has been the opposition’s best player. We want to be clearer when in the box.”
The injury list is steadily improving with just Sebastian Andersson, Florian Dietz, Mark Uth and Kristian Pedersen out for the Billy Goats.
Dejan Ljubicic is expected to start along with the midfield duo of Skhiri and Eric Martel. Baumgart also suggested that Benno Schmitz, Timo Hübers, Julian Chabot, and Jonas Hector would start again in defense.