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Jan 20, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
SchalkeSchalke 04
FC KolnFC Koln
Hoppe (57')
Stambouli (49'), Boujellab (89')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Czichos (31'), Thielmann (90+3')
Horn (89')

Preview: Schalke 04 vs. FC Koln - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Schalke 04 vs. FC Koln - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Bundesliga clash between Schalke 04 and FC Koln, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Schalke 04 meet FC Koln in a Bundesliga relegation clash on Wednesday, with the hosts looking to move off the foot of the table.

Koln, meanwhile, can move out of the bottom three with a victory.

Match preview

Having secured their first league win in almost a calendar year under new manager Christian Gross in some style with a 4-0 victory against Hoffenheim last week, Schalke travelled to Eintracht Frankfurt with more belief of gaining a result than in a long time.

However, Adi Hutter's side were comfortably the better team on the day, running out 3-1 winners after Luka Jovic scored a second-half brace on his second debut for Frankfurt.

Andre Silva had opened the scoring in the first half, with Matthew Hoppe levelling proceedings just a minute later with his fourth goal in two games. Hoppe's goal was Schalke's only shot on target across the entire 90 minutes, though, with Gross's side retaining only 33% possession.

Schalke should see much more of the ball against their fellow strugglers Koln, who generally prefer to sit deep, but the 66-year-old and his players must prove that the rout of Hoffenheim was not simply a one-off performance against an injury-stricken side by closing the gap on their relegation rivals.

Koln, meanwhile, have now failed to score in their last five league games, although Markus Gisdol may not have been too disappointed with his side's 0-0 draw against Hertha Berlin at the weekend.

In truth it was a pretty dire match between two sides clearly struggling for confidence, as evidenced by the fact that there were more yellow cards produced than shots on target across the 90 minutes.

Gisdol chose not to utilise a conventional centre-forward from the start once again, with former Norwich City loanee Ondrej Duda in a false nine role. While this can help with Koln's build-up play at times, there is a huge question mark over who exactly is going to put the ball in the back of the net.

Anthony Modeste could provide the answer. The 32-year-old may not be what he once was, but having scored 40 goals in 68 Bundesliga games in his previous spell at the club, he is surely worth chancing against Schalke now that his injury problems appear to be behind him.

Schalke 04 Bundesliga form: DLLLWL
Schalke 04 form (all competitions): LLWLWL

FC Koln Bundesliga form: WLDLLD
FC Koln form (all competitions): LDWLLD

Team News

Schalke's injury problems do not appear to be easing yet, with Alessandro Schopf, Steven Skrzybski, Nassim Boujellab, Kilian Ludewig, Salif Sane and Goncalo Pacienca all unlikely to feature against Koln due to injury.

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United midfielder Nabil Bentaleb appears to have played his last game for the club having been shunned since a training ground bust-up with assistant manager Naldo in November.

Koln, meanwhile, come into the game in better shape on the fitness front, with only Sebastian Andersson and Florian Kainz unavailable for the trip to Schalke due to injury.

Gisdol must choose between the more defensively solid back three system or the more offensive back four alternative, but is likely to play safe with the former after the latter contributed to his side shipping five goals at Freiburg.

Schalke 04 possible starting lineup:
Fahrmann; Thiaw, Kabak, Nastasic, Kolasinac; Raman, Mascarell, Serdar, Harit; Uth, Hoppe

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
T. Horn; Cestic, Bornauw, Czichos; Ehizibue, Skhiri, Hector, J. Horn; Duda, Jakobs; Modeste

We say: Schalke 04 2-1 FC Koln

It is hard to envisage a high-quality encounter between two sides devoid of confidence at the bottom of the table, but given the amount at stake it should be an intriguing battle.

It is not far off being a must-win game for Schalke given that they are five points behind Koln, and we can actually see Gross's side securing a narrow victory given their greater offensive talents at present.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data

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