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Sep 18, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
FC KolnFC Koln
RB LeipzigRB Leipzig
Modeste (53')
Czichos (17'), Mere (76'), Schmitz (79')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Haidara (71')
Klostermann (76')

Preview: FC Koln vs. RB Leipzig - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: FC Koln vs. RB Leipzig - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between FC Koln and RB Leipzig, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

FC Koln prepare to host RB Leipzig at the RheinEnergieStadion in Bundesliga action on Saturday, on a rare occasion that they sit above their opponents in the table.

A bright start under their new manager sees the hosts sit in seventh place, whilst the expected title-challengers Leipzig are down in 12th, under new leadership themselves.

Match preview

It has been a bright start to life in Cologne for manager Steffen Baumgart, after arriving in the summer from SC Paderborn.

Two wins, a draw and just the one defeat from the opening four rounds of matches have allowed Koln to dream of an improved season this year, after narrowly avoiding relegation in their two campaigns since returning to the top flight of German football.

In fact, the only defeat of the new season so far fell at the hands of reigning champions Bayern Munich, which was only a narrow 3-2 loss at the Allianz Arena.

Wins over similarly matched sides Hertha Berlin and VfL Bochum have both arrived at home, so Koln will head into Saturday's match in confident spirits and will be hoping to keep their 100% home record intact.

Most recently, another strong performance was put in away to unbeaten Freiburg last weekend, and despite being reduced to 10 men in the 74th minute, the Billy Goats only had another victory snatched away from them in the dying stages when Rafael Czichos registered an own goal.

As for visitors Leipzig, their manager Jesse Marsch has endured a difficult start to life in charge of his new side, unlike his counterpart on Saturday.

Predecessor Julian Nagelsmann was always going to be a tough act to follow, particularly after pushing champions Bayern Munich for much of last season, but one win and three defeats from the opening four matches is a poor start for the American regardless.

However, in his defence, losing key players of recent years in Marcel Sabitzer, Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate all in one transfer window has certainly not helped Marsch's settling-in period.

The last week in particular has been a troubling period for the new Leipzig man, after humbling defeats of 4-1 at home to Bayern Munich and a crazy 6-3 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in the first round of matches in the Champions League in midweek.

Christopher Nkunku scored a hat-trick at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, but a woeful defensive performance saw the German side well beaten.

Such poor results against fellow top opposition suggests that this season will be a year of adjustment and a work in progress for last year's runners-up, ahead of a renewed title challenge next campaign.

FC Koln Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

FC Koln form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

RB Leipzig Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

RB Leipzig form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Koln should welcome back midfielder Ellyes Skhiri into their starting lineup on Saturday, after he missed last weekend's trip to Freiburg because of a cold.

However, Florian Kainz was red carded after receiving two yellow cards in that fixture, so will miss the visit of Leipzig through suspension.

Youngster Jan Thielmann should replace him in central midfield, after he has missed the last two matches with a bout of illness himself.

Defender Jannes Horn is the only other absentee for the hosts, along with Kainz.

Meanwhile, Leipzig may look to rotate their defensive line after a shambolic display in midweek.

Young summer arrivals Mohamed Simakan and Josko Gvardiol are expected to return in defence, after Marsch opted for the experience of Willi Orban and Lukas Klostermann as a central defence pairing in England.

Dominik Szoboszlai could also come back into the starting lineup ahead of Dani Olmo, as part of the trio behind striker Andre Silva.

Defender Marcel Halstenberg has not yet featured this season and remains listed as a doubt due to an ankle problem. Should he miss out, he will be joined by Marcelo Saracchi on the absentees list.

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
T Horn; Schmitz, Mere, Czichos, Hector; Skhiri; Thielmann, Ljubicic, Uth; Modeste, Andersson

RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Gulacsi; Mukiele, Orban, Simakan, Gvardiol; Adams, Kampl; Nkunku, Szoboszlai, Forsberg; Silva

We say: FC Koln 1-1 RB Leipzig

A usual prediction for this encounter would be a comfortable Leipzig win. However, with Koln's strong start to the season, coupled with Leipzig's struggling start, we believe the hosts should manage to get something out of the game and capitalise on their home advantage. We say an entertaining draw in this one.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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