Friedhelm Funkel returns as 1. FC Köln head coach after 17-and-a-half years away. His last game in charge was a 3:2 win in the DFB-Pokal against VfL Wolfsburg II back in October 2003. Funkel led FC into 63 games as head coach during his first spell in charge.
Funkel does not just have experience at FC but is one of just six coaches to have taken charge of over 500 Bundesliga games. Overall, Funkel has over 900 matches under his belt as a coach. He will also be keen to avenge his final game as Fortuna boss, which was a 3:0 defeat to Leverkusen.
Ondrej Duda will miss the game against Leverkusen, just as he did in the Hinrunde. The Slovakian has scored three of FC’s last five goals, with all three coming from the spot. Duda now has five goals and five assists to his name, making it his third season reaching 10 goal contributions in his career.
FC will hope that their away form this campaign can continue in Leverkusen. Four of FC’s five wins and 15 of FC’s 23 points have come outside of Müngersdorf.
On this day in 1982, FC took on Bayer Leverkusen and came away 5:2 winners. Tony Woodcock scored a hat-trick, with Rainer Bonhof and Gerd Strack also on the scoresheet.
The Bender brothers are one of the best-known duos in the Bundesliga. However, Friedhelm Funkel and his brother Wolfgang have even more games in the top-flight under their belt. The Funkel brothers have 625 matches combined, with the Bender twins at 515.
No Bundesliga team have conceded fewer goals in the first half of matches this season than Bayer Leverkusen. The BayArena outfit have let in just 12 goals in the opening 45 minutes of Bundesliga games this campaign.
Sven Bender being on the pitch for Leverkusen has been a real catalyst for getting results. In his 13 appearances this season in the Bundesliga, they are yet to lose. That includes Hannes Wolf’s first two games as head coach.
Leverkusen have been defensively solid from corners this season. They have yet to concede from a corner this term, the only team in the league to do so along with FC Augsburg. Leverkusen have also conceded just three headed goals in the Bundesliga, another league best.
The Werkself have scored regularly in the first 15 minutes of games. Whilst Hannes Wolf hasn’t managed a goal in the first quarter of an hour in his first two games in charge, Leverkusen have scored nine times in that period this season. Only Union Berlin (11) boast a better record.
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