On Friday, Darmstadt will welcome relegation rivals FC Köln to Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor.
Since claiming back-to-back victories at the start of October, Darmstadt have experienced a poor run of results, losing three consecutive games before playing out two straight draws. The newly-promoted side took the lead in last weekend’s away clash with Freiburg. However, Mathias Honsak’s opener was cancelled out by Lucas Höler, ensuring the contest finished all square.
Having won just two of their 12 league games (D3, L7), Darmstadt are currently sitting in 15th place and just one point clear of the bottom three. A leaky backline has been one of the main factors behind their struggles this season, with Darmstadt currently holding the worst defensive record in the top flight after conceding 33 league goals.
While Friday’s contest may represent their first top-flight meeting with Köln for the first time since January 2017, the two sides last met in the second tier on April 2019. On that occasion, Darmstadt ran out 2-1 winners, and they would certainly love a repeat of that result on Friday.
Christoph Zimmermann, Fraser Hornby and Braydon Manu are all ruled out with ankle injuries.
Köln are currently lying at the foot of the Bundesliga table with just six points to their name after 12 matches. Their only league win of the season took place against rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach last month. Since beating die Fohlen via a 3-1 scoreline, Köln have gone on to take two points from their next four matches.
A demoralising 6-0 defeat to RB Leipzig was followed by consecutive 1-1 draws against Augsburg and Bochum. Despite showing great fight in last weekend’s meeting with Bayern Munich, die Geißböcke ultimately fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat, leaving them three points adrift of their upcoming opponents.
Having scored just nine league goals, Köln are currently the lowest scorers in the top flight, highlighting a key area for improvement if they are to avoid the drop this season. They also need to start picking up points on the road after losing four of their six away league games, ensuring they go into Friday’s contest in search of their first away win of the Bundesliga season.
The visitors are unable to call upon the services of Sargis Adamyan, who is ruled out with a hip issue.