Professionals | 17/08/2019

Matchday 1

Preview ahead of the trip to Wolfsburg

League football is back! 1. FC Köln make the trip to the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday afternoon to face VfL Wolfsburg. It was the scene of FC’s final Bundesliga game of the 2017-18 season. Now with a fresh feel and a new head coach, Achim Beierlorzer is hoping to start the first game 2019-20 Bundesliga campaign on a positive note.

Form check

VfL Wolfsburg: The Wolves have gone unbeaten through pre-season and after a tough DFB-Pokal game against Hallescher FC, they are coming into the 2019-20 campaign with confidence. With four wins and three draws, including an 8:1 win over OGC Nice, Oliver Glasner’s start to life as head coach couldn’t have started in a much better way.

1. FC Köln: As for FC and Achim Beierlorzer, it was a similarly tough route into the Pokal second round. A penalty shoot-out win over SV Wehen Wiesbaden tested the players physically and mentally, but 1. FC Köln are in the hat for the next round. After a solid pre-season under Beierlorzer, the wait is finally over for league football to begin and to put all the preparation into practice.

The managers have had their say

Oliver Glasner: "Köln will put us under pressure from the get-go and won’t need long to hit their stride. They’re physically very strong and won’t give us much time on the ball. They’re a handful in the penalty area with big, strong strikers. I’m expecting a very intense encounter in terms of the physical battle."

Achim Beierlorzer: "We travel to Wolfsburg with respect. I know the head coach, Oliver Glasner. He has a clear system and will line-up with a 3-4-3 with his attackers pressing the ball. We'll do everything to find our way in the game. We want to invest everything in every game. We are competitive and can hurt Wolfsburg."

Squad update

VfL Wolfsburg: Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wolfsburg’s summer additions were influenced by Oliver Glasner’s time in Austria with LASK. They have recruited Joao Victor directly from LASK, and Paulo Otavio from FC Ingolstadt 04 – another player who was previously under Glasner’s watchful eye. Xaver Schlager (Salzburg) has been touted as one of Europe’s most promising central midfielders, while Kevin Mbabu will give fresh legs down the right hand side following his move from BSC Young Boys.

1. FC Köln: Birger Verstraete and Louis Schaub both went through MRI scans on Monday following the game in Weisbaden. Thankfully, both showed up without any problems.Ellyes Skhiri could be part of the squad for the first time since his arrival, while Christian Clemens, Ismail Jakobs and Noah Katterbach are still in individual training. Marcel Risse and Darko Churlinov are back in training, but Jhon Cordoba is suspended following his red card against Jahn Regensburg last season.

Statistics

  • Wolfsburg scored four of their five goals against Hallescher FC from crosses. With Wout Weghorst being statistically one of the best headers of the ball in the league (3.4 aerials won per game last season), it is a strength that Oliver Glasner is likely to make use of.
  • Florian Kainz scored his first FC goal on Sunday against Wehen Wiesbaden. Up until that point, Kainz had managed to add five assists since his move from Werder Bremen in January – including the cross for Jhon Cordoba’s opener just three minutes prior.
  • The game on Saturday will signal the start of FC’s 48th season in the top flight. A win in Wolfsburg would be the 630th in Bundesliga history for 1. FC Köln, in what is the 1595th game in the first division.

Opposition dangerman

Wout Weghorst will be the man who FC will have to keep an eye on up front. The towering striker isn’t hard to miss at almost two metres tall, and has been a real hit since his move to Wolfsburg last season. 17 goals and seven assists helped propel the club back into Europe, and the Dutchman found the net again in the DFB-Pokal tie against Hallescher FC. With the Wolves particularly dangerous from wide positions, stopping Weghorst will be key to getting a result on Saturday.

Trivia

  • Saturday’s match will see FC face off against youth academy product, Yannick Gerhardt once more. Former managing director, Jörg Schmadtke is also now at VfL Wolfsburg. Armin Veh will also return to Wolfsburg having been head coach in Niedersachsen for six months in the 2009-10 season.
  • Wolfsburg have won 13 of the 29 meetings between the sides, with FC coming out on top on seven occasions. The last time FC won in Wolfsburg was back in 2010, as Kevin Pezzoni, Adil Chihi and Sebastian Freis scored in a 3:2 victory.
  • Up until the 4:1 defeat against Wolfsburg in 2018, FC had been on a long unbeaten run against the Wolves. The six previous matches saw FC go unbeaten, including two 1:0 wins.

TV Schedule

Australia – Kayo Sports, beIN Sports Connect

Austria, Germany, Switzerland – Sky Sport Bundesliga

Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela – Fox Sports 2 Cono Norte

Brazil – Fox Sports 2 Brazil

Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam  – Fox Sports 3

Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, DR Congo, Ghanam Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia – StarTimes

Canada – Sportsnet

China – QQ Sports Live, PPTV Sport China

Cyprus – PrimeTel 2

Czech Republic, Slovakia – DIGI GO

Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden – Viaplay

France – beIN Sports Connect

Japan – Sukachan 4

Malta – TSN6 Malta, GO TV anywhere

Netherlands – Fox Sports 6

New Zealand – beIN Sports Connect

Ukraine – OLL.tv, Futbol 2, Megogo

USA – Fox Soccer Match Pass

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Table

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Total table
PL. Team Pt.
14 FC Augsburg 4
15 1. FC Köln 3
16 1. FSV Mainz 05 3

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