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Oct 24, 2021 at 2.30pm UK
FC KolnFC Koln
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
Modeste (63', 82')
Uth (36')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Schick (15'), Bellarabi (17')
Demirbay (43'), Diaby (65'), Andrich (89')

Preview: FC Koln vs. Bayer Leverkusen - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: FC Koln vs. Bayer Leverkusen - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Bundesliga clash between FC Koln and Bayer Leverkusen, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Sunday's Bundesliga action includes a Rhineland derby between rivals FC Koln and Bayer Leverkusen at the RheinEnergieStadion.

Both sides are looking for a reaction after heavy defeats last weekend, and a victory against one of their local rivals will certainly be the perfect start to erasing the disappointments.

Match preview

Koln's five-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga came to a devastating end when they visited Hoffenheim last Friday, falling to a 5-0 thrashing at the PreZero Arena.

A defence that had previously been tight and well-organised during the opening stages of the season was carved open with ease on a number of occasions, with the scoreline certainly reflecting the balance of play and chances created by both sides.

Just nine goals had been conceded in the previous seven league matches by the Billy Goats, an impressive return for a side usually struggling at the wrong end of the table come May each season.

However, despite the heavy defeat, Steffen Baumgart's men will still be pleased with their start to the new campaign, as they find themselves sitting in seventh place in the table heading into Sunday's derby.

Three wins and a draw from their opening four league games played on home soil in 2021-22 have been key to their position, with just two of their 12 points being earned on the road.

Hertha Berlin, VfL Bochum and Greuther Furth may be expected to fight it out around the relegation places come May as well, but the victories against these similarly-matched sides could prove vital for Koln when it comes to the crunch time towards the end of the season.

Meanwhile, visitors Leverkusen were on the wrong end of a thumping themselves last weekend, as they were hammered 5-1 at home by Bayern Munich in their top-of-the-table clash at the BayArena.

Heading into the crucial clash level on points with the reigning champions, Die Werkself were fancied to go toe-to-toe with the Bavarians, but nobody saw a 5-0 lead at half time coming for the visitors.

Bayern were ruthless and Leverkusen were completely shell-shocked, and were perhaps fortunate that their opponents were not at their clinical best, otherwise the embarrassment could have been enhanced much further.

Since arriving in the summer, new manager Gerardo Seoane had enjoyed a near-perfect start before the disaster last weekend, with that result now meaning he has tasted defeat just twice in his opening 12 competitive fixtures across all competitions.

Considering both of those losses, as well as nine of their 12 league goals conceded so far, have arrived against fellow title-challengers Borussia Dortmund and Bayern, Seoane's side are yet to display that extra bit of quality against big opposition in order to put together a likely push for Bayern's crown this season.

However, a return to the Champions League will still be viewed as a success after finishing in a disappointing sixth position in 2020-21, and fixtures like the one facing them on Sunday are the kind that Leverkusen have been at their very best in so far this campaign.

After big victories in each of their last three meetings with their Rhineland rivals, the visitors will be confident of inflicting more misery on their neighbours on Sunday, which would also ensure last weekend's disappointment is quickly put behind them.

FC Koln Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D

Team News

The hosts will remain without their midfielder Ellyes Skhiri on Sunday, with the Tunisian being ruled out for several weeks after suffering a leg fracture during his international commitments recently.

Jonas Hector and Sebastian Andersson have both been hit by bouts of illness recently, with the former expected to return but the latter is likely to miss out here.

Defensive duo Jannes Horn and Kingsley Ehizibue are also listed as doubts due to groin and hip injuries respectively, but Dejan Ljubicic looks set to return to the midfield after a couple of weeks out.

As for Leverkusen, veteran midfielder Charles Aranguiz has been ruled out due to a calf problem, with the recently-returned Exequiel Palacios expected to deputise alongside Kerem Demirbay at the base of the midfield.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Julian Baumgartlinger are the only other absences, as they remain out due to long-term knee injuries.

FC Koln possible starting lineup:
T Horn; Schmitz, Mere, Czichos, Hector; Ljubicic; Kainz, Duda, Thielmann; Modeste, Uth

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Frimpong, Kossounou, Tah, Bakker; Palacios, Demirbay; Bellarabi, Wirtz, Diaby; Schick

We say: FC Koln 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen

An entertaining clash looks to be on the cards between these two rivals on Sunday, with both defences sure to endure some nervy moments after their displays last weekend.

The home form of Koln, coupled with Leverkusen's away trip in Europe in midweek, means that we can see the hosts managing to earn a point against their third-placed opponents here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data

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