Professionals | 20/11/2020

Matchday 8

The Number Crunch: At home against Union

1. FC Köln face 1. FC Union Berlin on Sunday evening, hoping to continue the scoring run at home. Max Kruse will be doing his utmost to keep his own good run going, and perhaps make Bundesliga history. Here are 10 facts and stats to prepare you for the game.

FC will run out in the Karnevalstrikot against Union, the seventh time that the club have produced a special kit for the occasion. The last game home win against Union came in the first-ever Karnevalstrikot, where Jonas Hector grabbed his first FC goal in a 4:0 win.

Duda and Andersson putting in the hard yards

FC are the only team in the Bundesliga to have two players inside the top 10 when it comes to challenges attempted. Both Ondrej Duda (5th, 176) and Sebastian Andersson (4th, 195) have been putting in their fair share of work so far this season. 

Noah Katterbach made his first start of the season against Werder Bremen before the international break and put in an impressive defensive shift. Following his cameo against Bayern Munich, he won 75% of his challenges in Bremen; a better percentage than anyone else on the pitch.

FC have scored in 18 consecutive home games now. Dominick Drexler’s goal against Bayern meant that the run, which began on 20th October 2019, continued into the international break.

Union have won the last three meetings between the two sides, including a 2:1 victory late last season. Before that, FC had lost just once to Union. That included a run of three straight wins and, in the first ever clash between the teams, a 7:0 win in Köln.

Sheraldo Becker is the third-fastest player in the Bundesliga this season. The Dutchman clocked in at 35.2 kmph, with only Dayot Upamecano and Silas Wamangituka managed fractionally quicker sprints. FC have their own flying Dutchman in Kingsley Ehizibue, who managed 34.5 kmph.

Union are doing their utmost to disprove the “second season syndrome” theory. After picking up four points from a possible 21 last season to start the campaign, Urs Fischer’s side have been superb to start the new term. Just one defeat and 12 points mean Union sit fifth.

Kruse in form

Max Kruse has played a large part in Union’s successful start to the season. The forward has three goals and five assists to his name inside the first seven games. Only Robert Lewandowski has contributed more goals thus far (Erling Haaland, Thomas Müller also have eight goal involvements).

Kruse is also one converted penalty away from setting a new Bundesliga record. His spot-kick against Bielefeld drew him level with Hans-Joachim Abel, who managed to score 16 in a row (15 for VfL Bochum, one for Schalke). The 32-year-old also scored from the spot against Hoffenheim.

Christopher Lenz’s performances have been going under the radar in the first seven weeks of the campaign. The left-back has won 23 tackles this season – only Martin Hinteregger (26) and Wataru Endo (24) have won more.

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Total table
11. FC Köln0
21. FC Union Berlin0
31. FSV Mainz 050