Freiburg's 3-0 defeat to Hertha Berlin during the week saw Koln slide into 17th place at the expense of Hertha, with Freiburg's European ambitions all but ended as a result.
While points on the board are always preferable at this stage of the season, Hertha's mounting games in hand due to their recent COVID-19 outbreak always looked a major concern to the sides around them in the table, including Koln.
Koln do play Hertha next weekend, however, before a final day home match against already-relegated Schalke 04, so Funkel appears to have both momentum and kinder fixtures on his side as he looks to pull off a great escape.
Having beaten title-chasing RB Leipzig in his second game of his second spell at the club, Funkel's side raced into a 3-0 lead at half time away to Augsburg last time out, with former Norwich City loanee Ondrej Duda scoring a brace.
The 67-year-old head coach may have been slightly concerned with the manner in which Koln nervily conceded two goals during a tense second half, but it was a crucial victory nonetheless ahead of three winnable matches as they bid to stay up.
Freiburg, meanwhile, secured their Bundesliga safety for a fifth successive season a long time ago, but appear to have run out of steam a little with Thursday's defeat to Hertha their fifth in their last eight matches.
Christian Streich's side looked capable of pushing for a European finish earlier in the campaign, but are now five points adrift of Borussia Monchengladbach in seventh place, which is likely to be the position required to qualify for next season's inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League.
Hertha, whose draw against Mainz on Monday was their first match in over three weeks, appeared to have more fight about them during the encounter, with Krzysztof Piatek firing in from a tight angle in the 13th minute before Peter Pekarik doubled the hosts' lead with a fine header nine minutes later.
Freiburg certainly had plenty of possession as they looked to get back into the game, with Nicolas Hofler going closest to pulling one back when his clever header was superbly saved by Alexander Schwolow after the break, but ultimately they fell short as Nemanja Radonjic wrapped up a crucial three points for his side late on.
Streich will be all too aware that his side are likely to face a similar type of match against another team scrapping for their lives in the shape of Koln on Sunday, with only securing a second consecutive top-half finish providing any motivation to him and his players in the final three matches of the season.
Koln could be without Jannes Horn, who incurred a groin injury last time out against Augsburg.
Noah Katterbach replaced the left-back after 65 minutes during that game and would likely do so from the start against Freiburg should Horn be unavailable.
Ismail Jakobs is also doubtful due to an ankle injury, but otherwise Funkel appears to have a clean bill of health to select from, so he could go with an unchanged XI from the win at Augsburg.
Streich, meanwhile, appears to be in the enviable position of having no injury or suspension issues to contend with for his side's trip to Cologne.
The 55-year-old is unlikely to have been too impressed with his side's performance levels against Hertha, though, with Vincenzo Grifo likely to replace either Lucas Holer or Ermedin Demirovic to provide more balance to the attack.
FC Koln possible starting lineup:
Horn; Schmitz, Bornauw, Czichos, Katterbach; Wolf, Skhiri, Hector, Duda, Kainz; Andersson
Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Muller; Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Gulde; Schmid, Santamaria, Hofler, Gunter; Sallai, Demirovic, Grifo
We say: FC Koln 2-1 Freiburg
We expect Koln to win a third successive match ahead of their potentially decisive encounter with Hertha next weekend.
While Freiburg can still cause the hosts issues, they appear to be on the beach, with a mid-table finish guaranteed for them.
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