FC Koln and Augsburg unusually find themselves with a wide gap between them as they head into their Bundesliga meeting on Friday evening at the RheinEnergieStadion.
Both sides are often in the midst of a relegation battle in the German top flight each season, but whilst the visitors are in the thick of it once more, the hosts are enjoying a a solid start to the campaign in the top half of the table.
Koln’s 1-1 draw at Arminia Bielefeld last weekend means it is just one win in their past four matches, although with the remainder ending in draws, it also means that their unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga was extended to four.
In fact, just three league defeats inside the opening 14 games have resulted in the Billy Goats sitting comfortably in ninth place heading into Friday’s fixture, with six points separating themselves and their opponents in the relegation playoff spot.
The one slight concern that manager Steffen Baumgart will hold will be his side’s lack of clinical finishing in front of goal during certain matches, which has resulted in Koln failing to kill off opponents and being unable to turn one point into three on numerous occasions already this campaign – with draws in half of their Bundesliga outings so far.
One such scenario came last time out in Bielefeld, as even though their hosts outshot them considerably in terms of statistics, it was Koln who had the better opportunities and failed to convert, other than Salih Ozcan’s goal which had given his side the lead early on.
However, with 17 of their 23 league goals arriving at the RheinEnergieStadion to date, where they also hold the only remaining unbeaten home record across the division, the Billy Goats will possess a considerable amount of confidence to see off their opponents on Friday.
Victory would lift Koln into seventh for the time being before the remaining teams play across the rest of the weekend, but it would ensure Baumgart’s solid start to the campaign continues, since his arrival at the club in the summer.
Meanwhile, Augsburg’s expected struggles each season are continuing in the 2021-22 campaign so far, with Markus Weinzierl’s side occupying 16th spot heading into matchday 15.
After a strong few weeks that saw Augsburg defeat Stuttgart and champions Bayern Munich at home, Fuggerstadter had seemingly kickstarted their season following a stuttered beginning to the campaign.
However, they were denied a third-successive home victory last weekend, when Weinzierl’s side were downed 3-2 by newly-promoted VfL Bochum at the WWK Arena.
The German boss will have been disappointed by his team’s dreadful first-half performance, which resulted in Augsburg heading into half time at 3-0 down.
Although a strong second-half fightback saw Michael Gregoritsch and Daniel Caligiuri pull two goals back for the hosts, a point, or even all three, would have been expected against a fellow relegation candidate on home soil prior to the game.
If Augsburg are to pull themselves away from relegation trouble, then picking up points on the road must become more frequent, with Fuggerstadter remaining winless away from home all campaign so far, but with the RheinEnergieStadion proving to be a fortress for Friday’s hosts, there will be little expectation of Weinzierl’s men being able to do so in this one.
FC Koln Bundesliga form:
FC Koln form (all competitions):
Augsburg Bundesliga form:
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We say: FC Koln 3-1 Augsburg
Koln’s unbeaten home record, coupled with Augsburg’s troubles on the road this campaign, mean we are predicting a win for the hosts on Friday evening.
Baumgart’s men have impressed so far this season and they would be expected to see off their relegation threatened opponents in this one with relative ease.