Preview: FC Koln vs. Hertha Berlin

Preview: FC Koln vs. Hertha Berlin

Hertha Berlin will move off the foot of the Bundesliga table should they be able to return from Cologne with all three points on Friday evening.

FC Koln, meanwhile, would climb into 10th place with a victory after winning three of their last five matches.

Having endured a dismal run of only one win from 10 league games between late January and early April, Steffen Baumgart’s side have bounced back in recent weeks to collect 10 points from their last five outings.

While European qualification will almost certainly escape them after reaching the Europa Conference League in Baumgart’s first campaign in charge of the club, a second successive top-half finish is not completely out of reach for the Billy Goats.

However, with a final day fixture against league leaders Bayern Munich – who may require a win at RheinEnergieStadion to be assured of an 11th successive Bundesliga title – Koln are likely to need maximum points from upcoming fixtures against Hertha and Werder Bremen if they are to do so.

Ultimately, while this season is unlikely to be one that lives long in the memory for Koln’s set of fans and players alike, comfortably avoiding relegation is not to be sniffed at for a club which has dropped down to Germany’s second tier on five separate occasions this century alone.

Indeed, Hertha would gladly trade places with their forthcoming opponents in the table in a heartbeat, with Die Alte Dame staring down the barrel at their first relegation in a decade.

However, their 2-1 victory against relegation rivals Stuttgart last time out has at least provided them with some hope of escaping the drop, as it brought their opponents and VfL Bochum both within three points of them at the bottom of the table.

Pal Dardai’s side’s superior goal difference compared to Bochum – who currently join them in the two automatic relegation spots – means that, if they are able to defeat Koln on Friday, they would move off the bottom of the table for the first time in several weeks.

With Bochum visiting the Olympiastadion in a crucial encounter next weekend, all Dardai and his players can do is focus on themselves, while hoping the likes of Stuttgart and Schalke 04 collect as few points as possible between now and the end of the campaign.

FC Koln Bundesliga form:

Hertha Berlin Bundesliga form:

We say: FC Koln 1-1 Hertha Berlin
There is little doubt that Hertha will be more desperate to claim all three points on Friday night, with Koln having much less to play for between now and the end of the campaign.

However, the hosts head into this encounter in decent form of late and will not want their opponents to outfight them, meaning that we can envisage a share of the spoils.

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