FC Köln vs. Union Berlin preview: Battle of the unbeaten sides
By Ben Sully @SullyBen
Two sides that are yet to lose in the Bundesliga will face off on Sunday when FC Köln play host to Union Berlin.
FC Köln have experienced an unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season after collecting nine points from their opening five league games, leaving them in seventh place ahead of Sunday's contest.
After being involved in three consecutive Bundesliga draws, Köln recorded their first away league win against Wolfsburg last weekend. Dejan Ljubičić levelled the encounter after Lukas Nmecha had given the hosts the early advantage, while a Paulo Otávio own goal and a Florian Kainz penalty ensured the visitors enjoyed a 3-1 lead at half time. Nmecha halved the deficit in the 79th minute, but within two minutes Sargis Adamyan found the net to wrap up a 4-2 victory.
Köln followed the win over Wolfsburg with a 1-1 Europa Conference League draw away to Nice in midweek. However, rather than the focus being on the game itself, crowd trouble off the pitch between the two sets of fans overshadowed the contest. The violence resulted in kick-off being delayed and Köln releasing a statement condemning the scenes.
Steffen Baumgart will hope his side can now turn their full attention to matters on the pitch as they look to claim three points that would move them level with the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Although, if they are to win on Sunday, Köln will need to end an eight-game winless run in competitive meetings with Union.
Ankle injuries will prevent Julian Chabot and Mathias Olesen from featuring, while Sebastian Andersson and Mark Uth are also sidelined for Sunday's contest.
Union were also in action in midweek, as they played host to Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium in the Europa League. It proved to be a disappointing result for the Bundesliga side who were narrowly beaten 1-0.
They will have the chance to claim their first points of the Europa League campaign on Thursday when they face Braga, but first, they must focus on Sunday's away meeting with Köln.
Like their hosts, Urs Fischer's side are also unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, although they are two points better off after winning three of their opening five league games.
They managed to avoid defeat last weekend despite facing defending champions Bayern Munich. Sheraldo Becker opened the scoring in the 12th minute and although the Bavarians restored parity through Joshua Kimmich just three minutes later, Union held firm to take a point from the contest.
As a result of their promising start to the season, Union sit in fifth place knowing that a win on Sunday would move them to the top of the table for a least a couple of hours.
Union will also be looking to extend their current unbeaten Bundesliga record to 13 games, while they have won four of their last five away matches in the league.
Danilho Doekhi and Fabio Schneider are sidelined with injury issues, although Janik Haberer will return to the squad. Fischer has also indicated that Jordan should be available after recovering from a muscle injury.