FC Köln vs. Gladbach preview: The Rhine derby
By Jonathan Dicks @Jonathan_Dicks
In the other huge derby of the weekend, Gladbach travel to struggling Köln, who are inching closer to the relegation zone through each passing week.
|Ramy Bensebaini.||Photo: Sven Mandel, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0|
After starting the season looking fairly strong, Köln now find themselves just a few points away from the bottom three. They have won just two games in the calendar year and can’t seem to put the ball in the back of the net.
With so many injuries, winter transfer Davie Selke has become their go-to man up front. But, the Billy Goats have scored just one goal in their last five league games and are lacking any sort of creativity offensively.
In surprising news this week, FIFA handed Köln a transfer ban that spans over the next two transfer windows. This is supposedly due to the club persuading Jaka Cuber Potocnik to terminate his contract with Olimpija Ljubljana before joining on a free last year.
When asked about the ruling, Steffen Baumgart said, “We are planning to appeal the ruling and that is what we will do. For now, we have to do our best and plan as best we can. We want to concentrate on our football and there is the small matter of the derby at the weekend. Let's talk about that.”
Sebastian Andersson, Florian Dietz, Mark Uth, Jan Thielmann and Kristian Pedersen are out. Luca Kilian trained this week, but he is still questionable for Sunday.
Gladbach’s form is also sputtering as they haven’t won since their mid-February victory over Bayern Munich. Now, the club are a massive eight points behind 9th-place Wolfsburg and basically out of the European conversation.
It feels as if the heads of several star players with contracts running out are elsewhere, which seems very similar to the current situation at Eintracht Frankfurt.
At least Ramy Bensebaini will return on Sunday after serving a two-game suspension and Gladbach can think back to their 5-2 drubbing over Köln in October.
At his presser, Daniel Farke said, "The table doesn't play a role when it's derby day. It's the biggest game of the year for both sets of fans. I expect Köln to give us a real challenge at home and throw everything they have at us."
Tony Jantschke and Julian Weigl remain out, while Manu Kone is questionable with a minor calf problem.