Preview: Wolfsburg vs. FC Koln

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Bundesliga clash between Wolfsburg and FC Koln, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Wolfsburg are looking to end a run of five straight defeats when they host FC Koln in the Bundesliga at the Volkswagen Arena on Tuesday evening.

An initial new manager ‘bounce’ has disappeared for the hosts in recent weeks, whilst the visitors fell to a disappointing defeat on Friday night.

Match preview

Wolfsburg's Lukas Nmecha celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on September 11, 2021© Reuters

The initial impact felt by the replacement of Mark van Bommel with Florian Kohfeldt back at the end of October is no longer in sight at Wolfsburg.

Following a three-game winning streak to begin his tenure, the Wolves have since drawn one and lost five in a row across all competitions ahead of matchday 16 in the Bundesliga in midweek.

The most recent of these defeats came at home to relegation-threatened Stuttgart on Saturday evening, where Wolfsburg fell 2-0 following a poor display.

Kohdfeldt’s side failed to get going for much of the game, and it was not until they were two goals behind that they really began to test their opposition goalkeeper.

As a result, Tuesday’s hosts find themselves in 10th place in the league and out of Europe entirely after a bottom-placed finish in their Champions League group, during an inconsistent start to the 2021-22 campaign.

The German boss will already be feeling the pressure of a club expected to challenge for the top four spots in the table, and following the sacking of his predecessor following a similar bright start before a dreadful run of form, Kohfeldt could be fearing for his job if his side cannot pick up all three points on Tuesday, with a trip to league leaders Bayern Munich awaiting them on Saturday before the winter break.

FC Koln's Ondrej Duda celebrates scoring their third goal with Dejan Ljubicic and Salih Ozcan on November 27, 2021© Reuters

Meanwhile, Koln’s unbeaten home record in the league this season was ended by their visitors Augsburg last Friday evening.

Steffen Baumgart‘s side lacked their usual intensity against their struggling opponents, and with top goalscorer Anthony Modeste missing a number of chances, the Billy Goats fell to a 2-0 defeat at the RheinEnergieStadion.

A failure to take their opportunities has been a common theme in matches so far this season for Koln, with many of their fixtures ending level as a result of their lack of clinical finishing in front of goal.

However, despite this, the unexpected loss was just the fourth time Baumgart and his side have tasted defeat since his arrival at the club in the summer, in what has been a steady start to the campaign for the Carnival side.

As a result of their solid foundations created this season, Koln sit in 11th place at the time of writing ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Wolfsburg, a venue where they have failed to win in their past eight visits.

Were they to end that poor recent record, Koln would climb above their opponents and potentially close the current gap of four points to the European places, whilst widening the three-point gap on the relegation playoff spot as it stands.

Wolfsburg Bundesliga form:

Wolfsburg form (all competitions):

FC Koln Bundesliga form:

Team News

Wolfsburg coach Florian Kohfeldt on November 23, 2021© Reuters

Wolfsburg’s defeat to Stuttgart on Saturday had even further negatives than the scoreline, with Aster Vranckx and Paulo Otavio both picking up injuries during the encounter.

The duo are expected to miss out on Tuesday, and join the long-term absentee trio of William, Xaver Schlager and Bartosz Bialek on the sidelines, as well as Admir Mehmedi, although he is nearing a return.

Josuha Guilavogui and Jerome Roussillon are expected to deputise for the former two, whilst the likes of Ridle Baku, John Brooks and Dodi Lukebakio will all be pushing for starts.

As for the visitors, first-choice goalkeeper Timo Horn remains unavailable until the new year due to a knee injury, with Tomas Ostrak joining him for a similar timeframe.

Niklas Hauptmann and Mark Uth could return following bouts of illness, but Ellyes Skhiri will be on the sidelines once more.

Wolfsburg possible starting lineup:
Casteels; Baku, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon; Arnold, Guilavogui; Lukebakio, L Nmecha, Steffen; Weghorst

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
Schwabe; Schmitz, Kilian, Czichos, Hector; Ozcan; Ljubicic, Duda, Kainz; Modeste, Andersson

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We say: Wolfsburg 1-1 FC Koln

With Koln remaining difficult to beat, and Wolfsburg in poor form, we are predicting this one to be a tight affair with very little between the two sides.

As a result, with neither performing at their best last time out, particularly the hosts, we can see this one finishing level and with few goals in the contest.

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