Germany: Bundesliga
3 - 0
(1 - 0)
FC Köln
G. Dias (9), B. Sosa (59), T. Coulibaly (74)
By Jonathan Dicks@Jonathan_Dicks

VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Köln preview: It’s Carnival time

Köln look to continue their excellent run of form at the Mercedes-Benz Arena against Stuttgart who need to produce a glimmer of hope for their fans on Matchday 21.

VfB Stuttgart

Stuttgart haven’t claimed three points since Bruno Labbadia took over and have now dropped to 17th place. Here we go again.

Several mistakes from Dan-Axel Zagadou on Matchday 20 gifted Freiburg three points and it has been that kind of a season for Stuttgart thus far. Konstantinos Mavropanos will likely return to the starting lineup on Saturday and Die Schwaben could really use some more Chris Führich magic in front of goal.

Labaddia stated, “My job is to lead the way. On one hand we have to talk openly about things that weren’t good. On the other hand, my coaching team and I have to help the players up again after setbacks. We will keep our heads up as a team because we believe in what we’re doing.”
Team News

In what looks to be a permanent change, Fabian Bredlow will again start ahead of Florian Müller in goal. Borna Sosa should play after dealing with a midweek cold, while Nikolas Nartey and Tiago Tomas are questionable. Serhou Guirassy remains unavailable.

FC Köln

The Billy Goats haven’t lost in 2023 and are coming off a deserved 3-0 victory over Frankfurt. Injuries don’t seem to be hurting Steffen Baumgart’s side at all and his defense has been rock solid.

In-form Ellyes Skhiri has also been so vital on both ends of the pitch as Köln try to work their way back into the European places. It’s Carnival time which will only give the club from the Cathedral City that much more motivation on Matchday 21.

Baumgart commented in his press conference that, “I’m expecting an emotional game, similar to our last fixture in Stuttgart. For Stuttgart, there’s a lot riding on this just as it is for us. I’m convinced that they have the quality to stay in the league.”
Team News

Timo Hübers is suspended and Köln’s lengthy injury list includes Florian Dietz, Dimitrios Limnios, Sebastian Andersson, Mark Uth and Kristian Pederson. Luca Kilian has partaken in some training, but he and Dejan Ljubicic still aren’t likely to be fit in time for the contest.

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