Preview: FC Koln vs. VfL Bochum

VfL Bochum will be aiming to move off the foot of the table when they visit FC Koln in the Bundesliga on Friday evening.

The hosts, meanwhile, will be hoping to build on a solid 0-0 draw away to Union Berlin from their last league match.

Match preview

FC Koln coach Steffen Baumgart reacts on March 4, 2023

Indeed, having conceded five goals without reply across two consecutive defeats to Stuttgart and Wolfsburg, Koln boss Steffen Baumgart would have been content to see his side leave the capital with a point last weekend.

With 17 points separating the two sides in the Bundesliga table, and Union Berlin unbeaten at home in the league for over a year, avoiding defeat was probably the best result that the Billy Goats could realistically hope to achieve.

Baumgart’s main concern may be regarding his side’s lack of potency in attack in recent weeks, having blanked in five of their last six matches heading into Friday’s encounter against Bochum at RheinEnergieStadion.

As such, it could be the perfect time to be playing the division’s bottom-ranked outfit, who have lost their last four matches prior to their trip to Cologne.

VfL Bochum's Kevin Stoger scores their first goal from the penalty spot on February 8, 2023

Indeed, despite putting together a solid run of form in Thomas Letsch’s first few months at the club to move outside of the relegation zone, Bochum have lost seven of their last eight matches in all competitions to fall back to the bottom of the table.

The bulk of Bochum’s growing foundations under Letsch was built on strong home form, with the 54-year-old sensationally winning each of his first five league games at Vonovia-Ruhrstadion after being appointed in late September.

However, even that has deserted them in recent weeks, with a disastrous 2-0 defeat at home to relegation rivals Schalke 04 last weekend seeing their opponents swap places with them in the table.

With tough fixtures against Champions League representatives RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt either side of the international break, Letsch and his players are clearly under significant pressure to achieve a positive result on Friday.

Team News

Ondrej Duda celebrates scoring for FC Koln on November 3, 2022

Koln’s lack of goal threat has not been helped by long-term injuries to crucial attackers such as Sebastian Andersson, Mark Uth, Florian Dietz and Jan Thielmann, while defenders Luca Kilian, Mads Pedersen and Rijad Smaljic are all unavailable too.

After producing a disciplined performance against high-flying Union Berlin last time out, Baumgart is unlikely to make any changes to his starting XI, even if he will be hoping for more attacking fluency against weaker opponents.

Bochum, meanwhile, will travel without Simon Zoller, Gerrit Holtmann and Cristian Gamboa due to existing injury problems, but Philipp Hofmann shook off a cold to start against Schalke and should be included in the matchday squad once again.

Letsch may look to bring Cameroon international Pierre Kunde into his midfield after losing control in that area of the pitch during their damaging defeat to Schalke last weekend.

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
Schwabe; Schmitz, Hubers, Chabot, Hector; Martel, Skhiri; Maina, Ljubicic, Kainz; Tigges

VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Riemann; Janko, Masovic, Schlotterbeck, Soares; Forster, Kunde, Stoger; Asano, Hofmann, Antwi-Adjei

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