Professionals | 15/03/2019

Matchday 26

Preview ahead of the trip to Duisburg

On Sunday afternoon, 1. FC Köln make the short trip north to face MSV Duisburg at the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena. FC are hoping to make it five wins in a row.

After having gone top of the league after the win in Aue, Markus Anfang’s men haven’t looked back and continue to set the pace in 2. Bundesliga. As they aim to keep their distance from both HSV and Union Berlin as crunch time sets in, a tricky visit to MSV Duisburg awaits with the team keen to keep the run going.

Form check

MSV Duisburg: After managing to lose eight of nine games around the Winter Break, Duisburg have managed to turn things around of late. Five points from their last three games has taken them off the bottom of the table and into 16th place, just one behind 1. FC Magdeburg and safety. That rough patch followed a very promising start under Torsten Lieberknecht, where he suffered just one defeat in seven games. He’ll hope to continue the latest mini-turnaround and have MSV out of the bottom three heading into the international break.

1. FC Köln: Despite a tough start to the year, FC have come out on the right side and are aiming to end a very successful period in the build-up to the break with a fifth win in a row. That would also mean remaining top of the table, after four wins in 15 days. After defeat to Paderborn, FC have demonstrated their ability to win in tough circumstances and then responded with an impressive performance to secure a 5:1 win over Arminia Bielefeld.

Managers have had their say

Torsten Lieberknecht: “FC have also changed their system. No matter what happens, you need a top performance in all areas against such a team. Then you also need luck on your side. Fact is, Köln have a huge amount of quality. The joy of competing against such players should be above all – there, you can push yourself further.”

Markus Anfang: "Obviously we still have that game in our heads. We have beaten ourselves a little in that one, and MSV also did well. It wasn’t a positive experience for us. MSV have managed to pick up points in the last few weeks. Last time, they played 4-1-4-1. They’ll maybe play something different against us."

Squad update

MSV Duisburg: Torsten Lieberknecht will be without Dustin Bomheuer (muscular problems), along with Sebastian Neumann, Christian Gartner and Borys Tashchy (long-term injuries). Joseph Baffoe is back in training after his injury but he is likely to miss out. Enis Hajri has recovered after a bang to the head against Jahn Regensburg, while Lukas Fröde is back after his suspension. Kevin Wolze, Young-Jae Seo and Moritz Stoppelkamp missed training on Thursday, due to illness, and will be touch and go for the weekend.

1. FC Köln: Simon Terodde (Tonsillitis) and Niklas Hauptmann (meniscus operation) will both miss the game on Sunday, though Timo Horn, Thomas Kessler and Rafael Czichos did return to training on Friday after their respective absences. Jonas Hector could return to training on Saturday.


  • Duisburg have had a tough time at both ends of the pitch this season. No team has scored fewer goals than the Zebras this season (24) and they’ve also conceded the second most goals in the 2018-19 campaign (42), with only Darmstadt (43) conceding more.
  • No team has conceded more goals from set-pieces this season than Duisburg (14). With FC having managed to find the back of the net from a league-high 17 this term, it’s an area that Markus Anfang will be looking to take advantage of this weekend.
  • Despite struggling when it comes to going forward, there has been no lack of trying from the Duisburg players. They rank fourth when it comes to being fouled per game (14.8), just below FC (15.5). MSV’s total is higher Hamburger SV, FC St. Pauli and 1. FC Union Berlin.

Opposition dangerman

Havard Nielsen might have only been at Duisburg since January, but he’s already got three goals in his eight games since his loan from Fortuna Düsseldorf. It’s perhaps no surprise that he ended up at MSV, not least because of the close proximity to Düsseldorf but due to his success under Torsten Lieberknecht. He may not have be a prolific goalscorer, yet he has found the back of the net under Lieberknecht 15 times in 56 games – that’s the same amount as his 107 games between Valerenga and RB Salzburg. Hard-working and persistent, he’s a key cog in Duisburg’s attack.


  • There will be a few familiar faces in the MSV squad for Sunday’s clash. Daniel Mesenhöler, Fabian Schnellhardt and Cauly Oliviera Souza all spent an extended period of time in FC’s youth academy. Schnellhardt was part of the B-Junioren side that went on to win the German Championship in 2010-11.
  • When it comes to 2. Bundesliga meetings, it’s all square between the teams. There have been three wins for each side and also three draws. Duisburg won the last meeting, with FC winless in their last three 2. Liga games against MSV.
  • That last win in 2. Bundesliga came in 2007, when Patrick Helmes and Milivoje Novakovic scored to help FC to a 3:1 win. Thomas Kessler is the only player who was in the squad that day to still be at the club. FC did, however, claim a 1:4 penalty shoot-out win against MSV in DFB-Pokal in 2014.

TV Schedule

As always, Sunday’s game will be live in the US with Fox Soccer Match Pass. It will also be broadcast by Sky in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. For fans in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the match is available on DIGI GO. FC supporters in Poland will be able to watch the game live on Eleven Sports 3.

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Total table
9TSG 1899 Hoffenheim35
101. FC Köln32
111. FC Union Berlin30