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FC Cologne take over VfL Bochum in the RheinEnergieStadion on Saturday in the midfield of the Bundesliga season.
The two teams are expected to slide towards the bottom of the table later in the year, but a win for both of them in this encounter would make a very solid start to the season.
Prediction for this match
Last year, Cologne narrowly maintained its status in the top division with a relegation playoff win against Holstein Kiel and decided that a change in the coaching bench is necessary.
Steffen Baumgart was brought in from SC Paderborn in the summer and had a perfect start to his tenure when his team triumphed 3-2 against Bayern Munich in a pre-season friendly.
Unfortunately, they had to notice a reversal in Bayern’s away game at the Allianz Arena last weekend in the second game of the season.
Baumgart’s team held out until half time, but the Polish number nine opened the goal at the beginning of the second half and as predictably Serge Gnabry then did two. However, the underdogs fought their way back with two goals in three minutes – by Anthony Modeste and Mark Uth – Pull her back.
Gnabry found a winner in the end, but Baumgart will be happy about the courage of his men and in combination with an impressive 3-1 home win against Hertha Berlin on the opening day there are certainly promising signs for the Billy Goats.
With the promotion from the second division last season, Bochum returned to the Bundesliga for the first time since 2009/10.
With a trip to the Champions League club Wolfsburg they were thrown into the deep end, but a 0-1 defeat – especially after an early red card for Robert Tesche – was anything but embarrassing.
Thomas Reis and his team built on that performance with an impressive 2-0 win over Mainz 05 in the second round of games with a great solo goal from Gerrit Holtmann and a header of Sebastian Polter.
Even if Mainz are struggling with difficulties this season, the promoted team will be in a good starting position if they can score three points in such games.
The game against Cologne will offer another such chance of at least one point – while Die Unabsteigbaren lost in two friendly matches, they triumphed over Cologne in their last league game in the second division.
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The hosts are in fairly clean health, with their only certain defender absent Jannes Horn with a hip injury.
Marvin Schwabe and Timo Hubers There are doubts, too, with hand and knee injuries, but there aren’t any serious problems for Baumgart so he’ll likely stick with a familiar 4-4-2 setup.
Bochum, on the other hand, has some problems.
Tesche remains suspended after his red in the opening game and there is a long list of short and long-term injuries.
Takuma Asano falls out with a muscle problem and is likely to be on the sidelines of Christopher Antwi-Adjei, Maxim Leitscha, Eduard Löwen and Patrick Osterhage.
FC Köln possible starting line-up:
Mandrel; Ehizibue, Mere, Czichos, Hector; Skhiri, Thielmann, Ljubicic, Kainz; Modeste, Uth
VfL Bochum possible starting line-up:
Riemann; Gamboa, Lampropoulos, Bella-Kotchap, Soares; Pantovic, Losilla, Rexhbecaj; Zoller, Polter, Holtmann
Probability: FC Köln 2-1 VfL Bochum
Both Modeste and Uth are likely to be a handful for the Bochum defenders, and the away form of the guests leaves a lot to be desired, making Cologne the more likely team to win the game.
Best betting tip for this match
Our expert tipster partners at footpredictions.com predict a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this game. Click here to see more football predictions to see what else they are predicting for this game and for more proven soccer tips.Home / Away: dates