Oct 23, 2020 at 7.30pm UK
FC KolnFC Koln
Mangala (1')
Wamangituka (51'), Karazor (80')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Andersson (23' pen.)
Ehizibue (8'), Jakobs (55'), Duda (68'), Skhiri (72'), Ozcan (88')

Preview: Stuttgart vs FC Koln - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Stuttgart vs FC Koln - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:419182: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Friday's match between Stuttgart and FC Koln, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Stuttgart take on FC Koln at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in the 2020-21 Bundesliga's Friday night game.

The two sides head into the match in contrasting form, with the hosts flying high in fifth place, and Koln currently sitting in the relegation playoff position with a solitary point from their opening four games.

Match preview

Stuttgart's superb 2-0 win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday took them to within three points of RB Leipzig in first place, which would have been beyond their wildest dreams having only been promoted from the German second tier last season.

Captain Gonzalo Castro - part of the Stuttgart side who were relegated in the 2018-19 campaign - was a real driving force in his side's victory at Hertha, regularly regaining possession and making forward runs before capping his performance with a superb strike from outside the area to seal the three points.

Sasa Kalajdzic will be disappointed not to have continued his goalscoring run, though, having struck the bar in the first half before missing missed a gilt-edged chance from close range in the second after brilliant work from Tanguy Coulibaly down the left wing.

With Castro, Coulibaly and Kalajdzic looking in excellent form and an organised defence capable of competing at this level, the sky is potentially the limit for this Stuttgart side.

Despite an excellent start to the campaign, however, it will be important Pellegrino Matarazzo keeps his side grounded, especially against a Koln side they will now be expected to beat. Matarazzo will also have noted that his team scored with both of their shots on target at Hertha, so creating more chances may be necessary in order to sustain this form in the long-term.

Koln manager Markus Gisdol, meanwhile, will have been encouraged by his side picking up their first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend, with Ondrej Duda's second half strike cancelling out Andre Silva's first half penalty.

After Duda's header was superbly saved by opposition goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, though, Gisdol may have been disappointed his side could not end a dismal winless run which now stands at 14 league matches stretching back into last season.

Prior to the season, promoted Stuttgart may have been targeted as a winnable match by Gisdol and his side. While that remains the case, it is clearly a more unlikely prospect now given the hosts' current momentum and Koln's lack thereof.

Die Geissbocke were boosted by the return of talismanic figure Anthony Modeste as a late substitute against Frankfurt, however, with the 32-year-old making an instant impact by superbly controlling a long ball before narrowly missing the target from 30 yards. He could well prove to be the goalscorer required to turn competitive performances into results.

Stuttgart Bundesliga form: LWDW
Stuttgart form (all competitions): WLWDW

FC Koln Bundesliga form: LLLD
FC Koln form (all competitions): WLLLD

Team News

Stuttgart's form is all the more impressive given that Matarazzo is currently without several first team players to choose from. Former Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos sustained a torn meniscus prior to the international break having been rushed back from injury in the draw against Bayer Leverkusen, so he joins Maxime Awoudja, who has a ruptured Achilles tendon, as a long-term absentee.

Clinton Mola's hip problems are ongoing, while Erik Thommy, Borna Sosa, Darko Churlinov, Roberto Massimo and Philipp Forster are all likely to miss the test against Koln through various knocks.

Koln may be struggling to pick up results but are at least healthier on the injury front, with captain Jonas Hector (neck) and Florian Kainz (knee) the only players likely to be missing for the trip to Stuttgart.

Gisdol's main dilemma is whether to throw Modeste straight into the starting XI or continue to rehabilitate him from the bench. Summer signing Sebastian Andersson is without a goal since his debut for the club on the opening day, so there will certainly be plenty of temptation to mix things up, but the likelihood is that he will persist with the Swedish striker at least once more while Modeste returns to full fitness.

Stuttgart possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Stenzel, Karazor, Kempf; Warnangituka, Mangala, Endo, Coulibaly; Didavi, Castro; Kalajdzic

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
T. Horn; Ehizube, Bornauw, Czichos, J. Horn; Skhiri; Wolf, Duda, Rexhbecaj, Jacobs; Andersson

We say: Stuttgart 2-1 FC Koln

Despite Koln's lack of points on the board, they have been competitive in every match so far and we don't expect that to be any different here.

However, Stuttgart head into this match with far more confidence and more in-form players in attacking areas. Coulibaly, Castro and Kalajdzic in particular caused Hertha Berlin real problems at times and could well earn their side three points once again.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data

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last updated article - 2020-10-21 20:47:35:
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Bundesliga Table
CBayern MunichBayern34246499445578
2RB Leipzig34198760322865
3Borussia DortmundDortmund342041075462964
5Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt341612669531660
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen3414101053391452
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin34121485043750
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach341310116456849
12Mainz 0534109153956-1739
14Hertha Berlin34811154152-1135
15Arminia Bielefeld3498172652-2635
16FC Koln3489173460-2633
RWerder Bremen34710173657-2131
RSchalke 04Schalke3437242586-6116
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