1. FC Köln: FC have hit a tricky patch after positives results against both Schalke and Paderborn put Achim Beierlorzer’s men in a good position heading into the English week. After defeat in Mainz, Saarbrücken and Düsseldorf, things are now in a different light and FC will be keen to get three points on the board before the international break.
TSG Hoffenheim: Hoffenheim have hit form at just the right time to relieve pressure on Alfred Schreuder. The Dutchman has seen TSG win their last five competitive games, with four successive league wins sandwiching Pokal progression against Duisburg. With 10 goals and just three conceded, Hoffenheim will be hoping to continue the good form and jump up to second before the rest of the teams take to action this weekend.
Achim Beierlorzer: “Hoffenheim played different systems. 4-3-3 and recently - and very successfully - the 3-5-2. There's no question about the quality that Hoffenheim have. But we've seen, at the start of the season, that they are beatable. We've got to throw everything at it, and concentrate as we did against Schalke and Paderborn.”
Alfred Schreuder: “The boys are in a good mood. I feel like they’re still keen and have the hunger. We have a deep squad and all of them can fit into the team. That’s massively important for us.”
1. FC Köln: Florian Kainz will miss the game on Friday due to his ongoing heel issues. Achim Beierlorzer confirmed in the press conference, that the injury would have to fully heal. Aside from Kainz, Christian Clemens is still sidelined and Noah Katterbach will miss out after his muscle injury against Fortuna.
TSG Hoffenheim: Questions remain over the fitness of Andrej Kramaric due to an ankle problem. Should the Croat not be fit for Friday, then Alfred Schreuder will likely stick with the same starting side that beat Paderborn. Diadie Samassekou is an option again after his injury, though Ishak Belfodil (knee operation), Havard Nordtveit (broken rib) and Steven Zuber (foot operation) remain absent.
After a tough spell in England with Brighton and Hove Albion, Jürgen Locadia made the move to Hoffenheim. After three goalless games to start his career in Germany, the Dutchman has managed two goals in his last two Bundesliga matches. Strong, tall and powerful, but still good with the ball at his feet, Locadia should be a perfect fit for German football and his last two performances represent what he is capable of doing.
Referee: Dr. Robert Kampka (Mainz).
Linesmen: Benedikt Kempkes, Thomas Stein.
Fourth official: Rafael Foltyn.
Video Referee: Daniel Schlager.