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Cologne v Monchengladbach (2.30pm)
Cologne finally recorded their first Bundesliga win of the season in their final game before the winter break. The 1-0 win over Wolfsburg moved them onto six points from 17 games, a nevertheless disastrous total particularly with Hamburg the closest team to them nine points further up.
The result did help land interim coach Stefan Ruthenbeck the job until the end of the season. Scoring goals is the biggest problem he has to solve if Cologne are to have a chance mounting the unlikeliest of survival attempts.
The injury crisis has relented over the winter break meaning he does now have options particularly with Simon Terodde jointing the club from Stuttgart.
Gladbach arrive in Cologne with the tantalising opportunity, at least for their supporters, to inflict further misery on their arch-rivals.
They’re outside the Champions League places at present but only on goal difference which stands at -1. That alone tells you the defensive frailties which are there to be exposed.
What might make the difference on Sunday though are the options they have going forward. Captain Lars Stindl and Thorgan Hazard have been their most consistent attacking players this season whilst Raffael’s form has started to pick up again after a flaky run.
- Cologne 0, Gladbach 2 (21-2, Unibet)
- Stindl to score first (27-5, Unibet)
- Gladbach win (123-100, Unibet)
Dortmund v Wolfsburg (5pm)
Marco Reus has returned to training over the winter break for Dortmund but this game against Wolfsburg will come too soon for him, along with Raphael Guerreiro and Marcel Schmezler.
Mario Götze on the other hand will be fit and that’s a boost for Peter Stöger given that he’s been Dortmund’s most consistent player in a campaign which started well and tailed off significantly.
Two wins from Stöger’s first two league games in charge means they’re third, heading a pack of four teams on 28 points before the weekend. The expectation is for Dortmund to comfortably seal a Champions League spot by the end of the season and equally, to be dispatching Wolfsburg on Sunday.
Martin Schmidt has lost Mario Gomez from his squad over the winter break with the striker returning home to Stuttgart. That might not necessarily prove all that much of an issue given how well Divock Origi has done in leading the line this season.
That wasn’t the case just before the winter break as he and Wolfsburg faced the ignominy of being the first side to lose to Cologne this season. It summed up how they’ve generally fared away from home since Martin Schmidt arrived a few games into the season, with Wolfsburg yet to win on the road under his stewardship.
That’s a statistic which is likely to be extended to seven games after Sunday’s trip west. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang didn’t end the first half of the season in the best form but you’d expect him and Dortmund to see off the visitors fairly comfortably.
- Dortmund 3, Wolfsburg 1 (9-1, Unibet)
- Pulisic to score first (11-2, Unibet)
- Dortmund HT FT (49-50, Unibet)
Munich-born Raphael Honigstein writes about football for Germany’s biggest broadsheet, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Guardian, ESPNFC and his tips appear here thanks to our football partner at MrFixitsTips, Unibet. They're making a big splash in the UK betting scene and if you join them today you can claim up to £30 in Welcome Bonuses when you deposit and place your first bet.