By Miloš Kovačević

When: 02:30 PM EST, Friday, April 21st, 2017

Where: RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany

Betting Line: OFF

TV Coverage: Fox Soccer 2GO USA, Fox Sports 2 USA, Fox Sports GO

 

Bundesliga Matchday 30 will kick-off on Friday with the exciting clash in Cologne where FC Köln (10-10-9) will face TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (14-12-3). The meetings of the teams from the upper part of the table are always unpredictable in the German top flight, especially if one of the teams suffered a memorable defeat in the first part of the season. In December at Rhein-Neckar Arena, TSG Hoffenheim outclassed FC Köln; Sandro Wagner announced Hoffenheim’s victory in the 8th minute but his teammate Toljan set the half-time score to 2-0. In the second half, Julian Nagelsmann’s men added two more to the scoreline through Wagner and Uth, while the guests failed to register a single shot on target.

It was certainly a forgettable visit for the team from Cologne, but in order to stay in the race for top 6, FC Köln must keep their heads cool. The hosts are in the seventh place with 40 points earned so far. The biggest threat for both FC Köln and SC Freiburg are certainly in-form SV Werder Bremen, who are rapidly approaching the top six with only a point less than Köln. On the other hand, the guests are cruising towards UEFA Champions League appearance from the third place with 54 points, with Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund trailing just behind with 53.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Julian Nagelsmann’s side quickly recovered from the 2-1 loss suffered in Hamburg by HSV. On Saturday, they welcomed Borussia Mönchengladbach in surely the most thrilling fixture of the previous round. Adam Szalai put the hosts up front with the goals in the 9th and 24th minute, but Gladbach’s Vestergaard and Lars Stindl scored a goal each before the halftime whistle, setting the score to 2-2. Demirbay and Uth were able to find the net for the hosts in the 58th and 75th, followed by Dahoud’s goal for the guests that carried a glimpse of hope for Dieter Hecking and his men.

However, assisted by Ante Kramaric, Kevin Demirbay sealed the match in the 89th minute with another goal, setting the final result to 5-3. Despite his team scored five against BMG, Nagelsmann won’t be happy with three goals conceded, especially since they conceded only 12 ahead of the clash against Gladbach. Hoffenheim’s away performance point to a draw since their record in visits reads W4 D7 L3. 

FC Köln

The guests are on a two-game losing streak – after the defeat by Gladbach in Cologne, they suffered the 2-1 loss in Augsburg on Saturday. The pressure is huge on the hosts since they dropped out of the Europa League zone and there are only five games to be played as the season is coming to a close. FC Köln’s home performances this season are solid since they were beaten only twice; they managed to win seven while drawing five games, scoring 22 and allowing 13 goals in the process.

The hosts are having severe problems in the defensive line since they conceded at least two in 7 out of last 8 Bundesliga outings.

Free Kicks

1. The guests were defeated only three times this season.

2. In 7 out of last 8 FC Köln’s games in the domestic league, three or more goals were scored.

3. Anthony Modeste is Köln’s top scorer with 23 goals.

The Pick

Both teams will be looking for three points in order to get closer to Champions League and Europa League. However, unlike FC Köln, the guests are very firm at the moment, but RheinEnergieStadion is not an easily vincible fortress this season.

FC Köln 1, Hoffenheim 1

Bundesliga , soccer