Winless since early December, Hoffenheim are in poor form. Köln have only lost once under Timo Schultz and hope for their first set of back-to-back wins this season.
|Photo: Marco Verch, CC BY-SA 2.0
Pellegrino Matarazzo's Hoffenheim side have tailed off this season since their impressive start to the campaign in which they won six of their first nine games.
Unable to win in their last six games, Hoffenheim have been in freefall down the Bundesliga table and are now five points off sixth place (their position following their last Bundesliga win against Bochum).
Despite this, Maximilian Beier has been in good form this year and has netted two goals in his last three outings. His total tally for the season now stands at eight goals in the Bundesliga.
Another standout player for Hoffenheim is box-to-box midfielder Grischa Prömel who has eight goal contributions this season in the Bundesliga.
At twenty-nine-years-old, Prömel's experience might mean that Hoffenheim are able to get over the line in their hunt for a European spot this season.
For Hoffenheim, Marco John has sustained a knee injury and will be out for the game on Sunday. John Brooks is out with a yellow card suspension for the Köln tie and Mergim Berisha will also be out with a knee injury. Midfielder Finn Ole Beckerwill be a doubt ahead of the match due a knee issue.
Köln are high off a home victory against an in-form Eintracht Frankfurt side (their first under Timo Schultz).
Beating the nine-men of Frankfurt, Köln were able to gather some distance between them and the bottom two clubs.
Makeshift striker Jan Thielmann provided his first goal of the season to put the "Billy Goats" two-nil up and in doing so he sealed the side's victory.
Struggling midfielder Dejan Ljubicic also excelled for the first time this campaign in his new role as a wide midfielder under Timo Schultz and provided two assists against Eintracht Frankfurt last Saturday.
Following victory last Saturday and on the topic of the Köln tradition of Karneval, Timo Schultz said: "They are free on Sunday, but they would have had that even in the event of a defeat. I do not base the training plan on won or lost games and certainly not on the carnival."
Köln will still be without Davie Selke and Luca Waldschmidt who have been injured since the club's clash with Heidenheim.
Serially injured Mark Uth has sustained yet another knee injury and therefore will miss the game on Sunday. Youngster Justin Diehl is still unavailable due to illness. Both Timo Hübers and Philipp Pentke are doubts due to illness and back problems respectively.