Augsburg take on FC Koln in the Bundesliga on Friday, with the visitors looking to build on their win against RB Leipzig in midweek as they attempt to escape from the relegation zone.
The home team, meanwhile, are not completely safe yet, but a win against Koln would ensure that they cannot be automatically relegated this season.
Augsburg may have considered themselves a little unfortunate to lose 2-0 to Eintracht Frankfurt in midweek, with Heiko Herrlich’s side having plenty of chances to spring a surprise against Adi Hutter’s high-flying outfit.
Marco Richter and Ruben Vargas both had three shots each across the 90 minutes, but were guilty of profligacy, as had been the case when Augsburg failed to score against Schalke 04 and Arminia Bielefeld in their previous two matches.
Frankfurt, ultimately, were the more ruthless side, with goals either side of half time from Martin Hinteregger and Andre Silva enough to move them up to third place in the table and keep them firmly in the box seat for a Champions League spot next season.
For Augsburg, a seven-point cushion above Hertha Berlin and Koln should already prove enough to see them compete in the Bundesliga for a 11th successive season, although Herrlich will be concerned that Hertha have two games in hand and counting after their recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Tuesday represents the perfect opportunity to at least put the automatic relegation places completely out of reach
After a winless run of nine matches, Koln looked destined for their sixth relegation since the turn of the century, but they have kept their hopes of survival alive with a shock 2-1 win over Leipzig on Tuesday.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side, whose title hopes were all but ended by the defeat, completely dominated the first half, but as has often been the case for them in recent weeks, they failed to find the important breakthrough.
Timo Horn produced the save of the match to deny Alexander Sorloth’s powerful header a few minutes before half time.
Jonas Hector nodded home at the back post to open the scoring two minutes after the restart but saw Amadou Haidara cancel out his effort with a drilled shot from the edge of the box.
However, Hector was not to be denied being his side’s matchwinner, charging into the box and firing past Peter Gulacsi less than two minutes later to move his side level on points with 16th-placed Hertha, who currently occupy the relegation playoff spot.
By and large, then, Koln’s recently-appointed manager Friedhelm Funkel had his captain Hector and vice-captain Horn, who have both been fantastic servants at the club since 2012, to thank for the three points.
The duo’s quality and character will almost certainly prove instrumental if Koln are to have any chance of producing a great escape between now and the end of the season, with recording successive wins against Augsburg on Friday potentially required if they are to realistically keep those dreams alive.
Augsburg Bundesliga form:
FC Koln Bundesliga form: