Hoffenheim - FC Köln

Germany: Bundesliga
Hoffenheim I. Bebou (31), I. Bebou (49), C. Baumgartner (51), D. Geiger (74), S. Posch (87)
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FC Köln

Skhiri and Ljubicic likely to miss next fixture, jet-lag may sideline Richards

By Peter Vice

Ahead of the league's round eight kickoff fixture on Friday, both Bundesliga coaches face issues with players returning from international duty. 

Köln's Steffen Baumgart is missing two potential starters whilst Hoffenheim's Sebastian Hoeneß does not know in what sort of shape his defensive anchor will return. 

Ellyes Skhiri.
Ellyes Skhiri.Photo: GEPA Pictures/Sven Sonntag

News broke yesterday of injury to 1. FC Köln's midfield linchpin. On Wednesday, the club confirmed that midfielder Ellyes Skhiri's knee injury--incurred whilst away on duty for the Tunisian national team--prevented the 26-year-old from training with the team. Few specifics were with regard to the team's talisman, other than the fact that he would be unavailable "until further notice." 

One assumed that Skhiri will not be an option for head-coach Steffen Baumgart in two-days-time. The same might also be said of versatile midfielder Dejan Ljubicic, who returned from the Austrian national team carrying a non-corona-related infection. The Effzeh revealed that the 24-year-old had been separated from the team and also could not train.

Skhiri has scored three goals thus far this season for the Geißböcke. Ljubicic has chipped in with five solid starts and two impressive relief appearances.

"We don't look at the personnel situation," Baumgart noted in his Wednesday presser, "We look at ourselves, at what we want to play. We want to impose our game. Hoffenheim is a team that didn't start as well as they had envisioned. This is a team still in search of itself. We have an opportunity to play a solid game."

Over in Sinsheim, Sebastian Hoeneß spoke on some of the players already missing from his squad. There will be no comeback this week for Marco John, Benjamin Hübner, or Havard Nordveit. Hoeneß did note that the injury that forced him to make Christoph Baumgartner a late scratch wouldn't affect the Austrian attacker's availability this weekend.

A topic Hoeneß found himself pressed on concerned the return of Chris Richards from the USMNT. After catching the red-eye back from the United States, the American center-halve's availability will hinge on several factors.

"With Chris, one will simply have to wait and see how it works out," the TSG trainer noted, "It's a question of how much he has it together. Jet lag is a question in this case. Did he sleep on the plane? Will he be able to train on Thursday? I'll have to talk to the player, see how he feels, and go with my gut."

1Oliver Baumann (C)
38Stefan Posch
11Florian Grillitsch
25Kevin Akpoguma
3Pavel Kadeřábek ↩36
18Diadie Samassekou
8Dennis Geiger ↩81
17David Raum ↩81
14Christoph Baumgartner ↩73
9Ihlas Bebou ↩73
27Andrej Kramarić
37Luca Philipp
7Jacob Bruun Larsen ↪81
10Moanes Dabour
29Robert Skov ↪81
33Georginio Rutter ↪73
22Kevin Vogt
28Chris Richards ↪36
13Angelo Stiller
16Sebastian Rudy ↪73
FC Köln
1Timo Horn
2Benno Schmitz
22Jorge Meré ↩56
5Rafael Czichos (C)
19Kingsley Ehizibue ↩75
6Salih Özcan
29Jan Thielmann ↩79
13Mark Uth
11Florian Kainz ↩56
27Anthony Modeste
9Sebastian Andersson ↩56
20Marvin Schwäbe
3Noah Katterbach ↪75
4Timo Hübers
15Luca Kilian ↪56
17Kingsley Schindler
18Ondrej Duda ↪56
21Louis Schaub ↪56
25Tim Lemperle ↪79
31Tomáš Ostrák

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