Following a run of impressive performances, Köln will be looking to clinch a fifth successive win, when they play host to Wolfsburg on Saturday.
|Steffen Baumgart.||Photo: Sandro Halank, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0|
Köln are closing in on a return to European competition, with Steffen Baumgart's side currently sat in sixth place.
Although a European place is nearly secured, what is not as certain is what competition Köln will be playing in. They currently occupy a Europa Conference League spot, but sixth position could become a Europa League place depending on where the DFB-Pokal finalists Freiburg and RB Leipzig finish in the league table.
Die Geißböcke also have an outside chance of breaking into the top four if the teams above them falter in their final two matches.
Köln certainly enter their final two games in a rich vein of form after winning their last four matches.
Last weekend, they scored at least three goals for the fourth game in a row as they thrashed Augsburg 4-1. Jan Thielmann and Mark Uth both found the net in the opening 15 minutes to give Köln a two-goal lead at half time. Anthony Modeste came to the party in the second half, dispatching a spot-kick before Florian Niederlechner pulled a goal back for the hosts, but there was still time for Modeste to grab his second goal of the game.
Baumgart will now be aiming to guide his players to a fifth consecutive victory, and they can take inspiration from the 3-2 win they picked up over Wolfsburg in the reverse fixture.
Sebastian Andersson is the only known absentee for the hosts. Meanwhile, Salih Özcan is expected to return to the starting lineup after serving a one-match suspension.
Although Wolfsburg have underachieved this season, they have fared fairly well in recent weeks, losing just one of their last four matches. A 4-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld was followed by a heavy 6-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund before Wolfsburg responded emphatically by beating Mainz 5-0.
In their most recent outing, Die Wölfe were denied consecutive victories after Stuttgart salvaged a point. John Brooks had given Wolfsburg the lead in the 13th minute, and it seemed for the majority of the contest as though they would claim all three points, but Chris Führich struck in the 89th minute to deny Wolfsburg the win.
There may not be too much to play for, but Die Wölfe have the chance to improve on their current 13th position in their final two games of the season against Köln and Bayern Munich.
If they wish to claim all three points this weekend then Wolfsburg will need to end a five-game winless away run.
Wolfsburg are expected to be without the services of Luca Waldschmidt, William Paulo Otavio and Sebastiaan Bornauw.