VfB Stuttgart: VfB have started the season in superb form. After the narrow loss on the opening day to SC Freiburg, VfB earned seven of a possible nine points. Their last game was a 2:0 win in the capital against Hertha BSC, with Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side drawing plenty of plaudits in the early stages of the term. A win on Friday would be the first at home since the Bundesliga return, and the young charges from VfB will be keen to make that happen.
1. FC Köln: FC got their first point of the new Bundesliga campaign against Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. Ondrej Duda’s first goal for the club earned a deserved share of the spoils as Markus Gisdol’s men battled back from a late first-half penalty. The performance gave reason to be hopeful and a platform to build off in the coming weeks. A trip to Baden-Württemberg represents the next chance to put more points on the board.
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “Our results up to now have given us a certain self-confidence. We know that we can hurt many opponents if we push ourselves to the limit. To do that we need to always give it our all and perform as a unit. The current league table is only temporary so we are not paying any attention to it. Our only motivation is to put in a good performance.”
Markus Gisdol: “In Stuttgart, there is the euphoria of a promoted side. They have a team that are carefree and play full force going forward. They are incredible dangerous up front and have good players. We have watched the games that VfB have played. In every game, everything was possible. They have done very well so far. We see our chances there but we are not playing down the threat.”
VfB Stuttgart: Waldemar Anton will definitely miss the game against FC due to an ankle ligament injury. Konstantinos Mavropanos, who was recently operated on, joins the defender on the sidelines. Maxime Awoudja, Clinton Mola and Erik Thommy are also absent. Borna Sosa, Roberto Massimo, Tanguy Coulibaly and Darko Churlinov are fit again. There are doubts over Wataru Endo and Gregor Kobel. However, both seem set to be ready for tonight.
1. FC Köln: Jonas Hector and Marco Höger will both miss the trip to Stuttgart due to their respective issues. There has also been no change on the long-term injury front. Rafael Czichos was feeling unwell and is a doubt for the game. Otherwise, Markus Gisdol has the same 20 players available from Sunday’s draw against Frankfurt.
Silas Wamangituka was the most expensive signing in 2. Bundesliga last season. With just one assist in his first six games, things were not easy for the 21-year-old at the beginning. However, he ended the season with seven goals and seven assists in the final 23 games. A sign of what was to come. The former Paris FC forward – nominated for Bundesliga Rookie of the Month – has hit the ground running in the top tier. The versatile front man has two goals and an assist in his first four games and is one of the most dangerous players in the opening few weeks of the new campaign.
Stuttgart have lost just two of the last 10 competitive meetings against FC, including wins in the last three clashes between the sides. VfB have, however, found it hard against FC at home. The past 20 years have proven difficult for Stuttgart when Köln have come to Bad Cannstatt. Aside from the defeat in 2017-18, FC have not lost a Bundesliga game there in 21 years. The run lasted 11 games, with seven of those ending in wins for FC.