Germany: Bundesliga
FT
2 - 0
(0 - 0)
FC Bayern
FC Köln
R. Guerreiro (65), T. Müller (90)
By Ben Sully@SullyBen

Bayern Munich vs. FC Köln preview: Champions hoping to prolong title defence

Bayern Munich will attempt to bounce back from consecutive league defeats when they play host to Köln on Saturday.

Bayern Munich

Bayern could relinquish the Bundesliga title this weekend after dropping 16 points behind runaway leaders Bayer Leverkusen. Their fading hopes of claiming a 12th consecutive league title were effectively ended by back-to-back defeats against Borussia Dortmund and Heidenheim. The Bavarians at least managed to pick up a positive result in midweek, playing out a 2-2 draw in their Champions League quarter-final clash with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. 

While Wednesday’s second leg will take priority, Bayern will still be keen to return to winning ways in Saturday’s league outing. The Bavarians know that a defeat combined with a Stuttgart loss would hand Leverkusen the title before Xabi Alonso’s side face Werder Bremen on Sunday. However, even if Bayern manage to claim all three points, Leverkusen will finish the weekend as champions if they beat Bremen at the BayArena.

Bayern will be encouraged by the fact they have won 11 of their last 12 meetings with Bayern, including a 1-0 victory in November’s reverse fixture.

Team News

Thomas Tuchel has revealed that Leroy Sane will not be risked for Saturday’s contest. Serge Gnabry is unavailable after picking up an injury against Arsenal, while the hosts are also without the services of Sacha Boey, Bouna Sarr, Tarek Buchmann and Gabriel Marusic.

Köln 

Köln boosted their survival hopes with a narrow victory in last Saturday's home meeting with Bochum. Die Geißböcke appeared to be heading towards defeat after Felix Passlack gave Bochum the lead in the 53rd minute. However, Köln managed to stage a dramatic turnaround, with Steffen Tigges levelling in the 90th minute before Luca Waldschmidt scored a stoppage-time winner. 

Despite ending a seven-game winless run, Timo Schultz's side are still sitting in the automatic relegation places. They are currently one point behind the relegation playoff spot and four points adrift of safety altogether. As a result, Köln will need to produce some strong performances in their final six matches if they are to extend their five-year stay in the top flight.

Unfortunately for Köln, they have not beaten Bayern since recording a 3-2 home win in February 2011. However, they may be able to draw inspiration from the fact they picked up a point in their most recent visit to the Allianz Arena in January 2023.

Team News

The visitors are unable to call upon Luca Kilian, Florian Dietz, Justin Diehl, Mark Uth and Davie Selke. Eric Martel will serve a one-match suspension, while Denis Huseinbašić and Faride Alidou are both doubts.

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