1. FC Köln: Since the defeat against 1. FC Union Berlin, 1. FC Köln have been in fine form. That loss seemed to spark a turnaround, with wins against Borussia Dortmund and Mainz followed up by dogged draws with Wolfsburg and Leipzig. The only blot on the copy book was the defeat to Leverkusen. Pokal progression was also secured before the mini-break, as Anthony Modeste’s goal earned a last 16 place in the 1:0 win over Osnabrück.
FC Augsburg: After taking seven points from the first three games this season and sitting sixth after six games, things have taken a downturn for Heiko Herrlich’s side. Despite just losing two of their last six fixtures, Augsburg have only won just once in that period. They also fell to defeat against RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal just before Christmas. Augsburg will be determined to start strongly, given that four of the top seven lie in wait in January.
Markus Gisdol: “Augsburg have their style. They are an incredibly dynamic team, which are in the position to cover 120km a game. With lots of pace, with lots of play up front and aggressive running. We have to find a good formation which allows us to put pressure on them and play forward.”
Heiko Herrlich: “Köln are waiting for us. They are a team with quality, and they have shown that against the bigger sides this season. But we will still head there with confidence in ourselves. We have sprung a surprise or two, as well. We want to head there and take the points back with us.”
1. FC Köln: Florian Kainz and Sebastian Andersson will definitely miss the game against Augsburg. Ismail Jakobs was recovering from illness during the week, while Rafael Czichos is available for selection again after his adductor injury.
FC Augsburg: André Hahn missed the final five games of 2020 due to his bout of COVID-19, and could return against FC. Raphael Framberger has a muscular injury that is set to sideline the right-back. That aside, Heiko Herrlich has no new worries.
Daniel Caligiuri has been in inspired form since his arrival from FC Schalke 04 on a free transfer. The Italian has four goals and three assists to his name so far, including a late equaliser against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The 32-year-old typifies Augsburg’s approach at the moment: hard-working, dogged and determined and never giving up.
After Lukas Podolski’s brace and Slawomir Peszko’s tricky run gave FC a 3:0 win over FC Augsburg in the first ever Bundesliga meeting between the two, it’s been slim pickings ever since. Augsburg have won five and drawn six in the 11 Bundesliga games that have followed. Both meetings ended 1:1 last season, and FC will be hoping to go one better this time around.