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Hertha BSC
FC Köln

Relegation fight injury updates:
Köln without their captain, Hertha prepare to opt for youth

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Friedhelm Funkel's FC Köln can rely on the services of striker Sebastian Andersson in their must-win basement duel with Hertha BSC on Saturday, but are at risk of being without captain Jonas Hector after the veteran couldn't complete the final Friday training session. 

Meanwhile, the injured list of their capital city hosts grows even longer. Jessic Ngankam is a sudden doubt with knee problems. 
Pal Dardai.
Pal Dardai.Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0
Geißböcke trainer Friedhelm Funkel did not wish to conclusively rule his captain out for the match that might seal Köln's automatic relegation on Saturday. The 67-year-old head-coach nevertheless dropped hints that Jonas Hector's prospects did not look promising.

Funkel revealed that his talisman suffered a rather serious ankle injury in Thursday's training and mused about potentially using Max Meyer, Salih Özcan, or Elvis Rexhbecaj.

The Domstädter absolutely must win in order to keep their survival hopes alive. Should the visiting Rhinelanders manage to upset Germany's West Berlin club at the Olympiastadion, the relegation race could be turned on its head.

With all of the absent attackers Pal Dardai cannot count on, this may be a distinct possibility. At the Friday presser, the gaffer of "die alte Dame" revealed that Jessic Ngankam may join an injured reserve/suspension list that already includes Jhon Cordoba, Krzysztof Piatek, Dodi Lukebakio, and Matheus Cunha.

"Jessic's knee is swollen," Dardai confirmed during the Friday media round, "If there's fluid there we can't risk anything."

Dardai did essentially commit to placing Dutch attacker Daishawn Redan in the squad, though he didn't necessarily commit to a start for the Dutch attacker who last made an appearance under previous trainer Bruno Labbadia.

Jonas Michelbrink, who made a surprisingly spirited showing in fifteen minutes of relief on Wednesday, remains a candidate for midfield, but Dardai still needs forwards. Youth academy players Marten Winkler, Jonas Dirkner, and Ruwen Werthmüller all trained with the senior side on Friday.

"I come from the youth academy and have lived at this club for almost 30 years," Dardai emphasized at the presser, "I know which junior player has which specific strength. That's how we'll fill the squad. I have a good feeling. We'll have a good team on the pitch tomorrow."

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