Germany: Bundesliga
0 - 2
(0 - 1)
FC Köln
J. Thielmann (14)
J. Frimpong (37), Á. Grimaldo (73)
By Moritz Baer@MoritzBaer_UK

Köln vs Bayer Leverkusen preview: Can Köln stop an unbeaten Bayer side in the derby?

Köln head into this Sunday home tie following a strong draw with Champions League hopefuls VfB Stuttgart, whereas Bayer Leverkusen narrowly beat Mainz to continue their lead at the top of the Bundesliga.


For 1. FC Köln, it was a tale of two halves as they played a very good second half against Stuttgart last time out but it wasn't enough for the victory.

Köln's attacker Faride Alidou could have won the Billy Goats all three points had he finished his late chance but instead his side settled for a one-one result.

However, Köln will be wary that they have the league's worst scoring record with sixteen goals.

Despite this, one small slice of hope comes in the form of Davie Selke with the striker perhaps making a late second-half appearance following his injury.

Ahead of the Bayer Leverkusen clash, 1. FC Köln coach Timo Schultz said: "It's a challenge against a team that's unbeaten in 33 games. But it'll be a special game on Sunday with our fans behind us."

Team news

For Köln, the ever-injured Mark Uth is still out with a knee injury. Damion Downs and Davie Selke are also doubts with concussion and a foot injury respectively with the latter suspected to make a ten minute appearance late in the game.

Luca Waldschmidt is not ready to return following a broken leg, with a potential comeback for the former Germany international expected after the international break.

Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen had to rely on some poor goalkeeping from Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner for their second in a two-one victory last Friday.

However, with the Werkself facing another bottom three side this week they'll fancy their chances in this Rheinderby.

Bayer Leverkusen will be spurred on by Bayern Munich's missed opportunity to close the gap on Friday, as the Bavarians left behind two points at Freiburg's ground

One very slightly worrying stat for Bayer Leverkusen will be that they have only managed to win a game by more than one goal twice this year (versus Bayern Munich and bottom side Darmstadt).

However, Jonas Hofmann has a brilliant record against the Billy Goats as he has scored two and assisted seven against the carnival side.

Ahead of the derby clash on Sunday, Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso said: "We're expecting a hard game with intense duels. It's a very important game for both teams. Game likes this are always special."

Team news

For Bayer 04, Arthur remains out with a thigh injury. Also, Victor Boniface is still out with a groin problem however reports suggest he is on track for an April return.

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