FC Koln vs RB Leipzig: Preview and Prediction

Two sides battling it out at the opposite ends of the Bundesliga table this season will face off in the opening match of this weekend’s fixtures as FC Koln welcome RB Leipzig to RheinEnergieStadion on Friday evening.

FC Koln welcome RB Leipzig to the RheinEnergieStadion for Friday night action in the Bundesliga this weekend. RB Leipzig recovered well from their Champions League exit last week, as they eased to a 2-0 win over bottom club Darmstadt in their last league outing.

Currently sitting in the fifth position in the Bundesliga table with 46 points, they are within striking distance of the Champions League spots, and a victory may lift them over Borussia Dortmund, who are due to take on Eintracht Frankfurt later in the weekend.

Koln, meanwhile, are coming off the back of playing out an entertaining 3-3 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach last time out. They sit in the relegation play-off spot and need a big win to aid their quest for Bundesliga survival.

The hosts have had little trouble avoiding the drop in the last two seasons. But things are not looking bright for the Billy Goats at the moment. Timo Schultz’s side have their home form to blame for their current situation, having won just one of their last eight games at the RheinEnergieStadion, and will face a difficult task against Leipzig on Friday.

Team News & Tactics

FC Koln

Timo Schultz has a gamut of fitness and unavailability issues hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against RB Leipzig on Friday, FC Koln’s manager will be bereft of a number of first-team players.

The attacking unit has suffered the most owing to fitness concerns, with Justin Diehl (hip), Luca Waldschmidt (knock), and Mark Uth (knee) all sidelined.

In addition, Koln’s lack of discipline might cost them in this encounter, as Jan Thielmann is serving the second of a three-match ban for a straight red card against Bayer Leverkusen earlier this month, while Timo Hubers and Dejan Ljubicic are also ineligible for selection on Friday due to yellow card accumulation.

Marvin Schwabe picks himself between the sticks, with FC Koln likely to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him. Dominique Heintz and Julian Chabot will likely form the central defensive pairing, with Rasmus Carstensen and Max Finkgrafe being the two full-backs.

Eric Martel will look to shore up things in the middle of the park. The German midfielder will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park, with Denis Huseinbasic sitting alongside him in the double pivot.

Florian Kainz will likely be the most advanced midfielder for Koln, with the Austrian playmaker looking to carve out the openings in the final third. Faride Alidou and Linton Maina should be the two wide attacking midfielders, with the former bagging a brace last time out. Finally, Sargis Adamyan should spearhead the Koln attack against RB Leipzig.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schwaebe; Carstensen, Chabot, Heintz, Finkgrafe; Martel, Huseinbasic; Alidou, Kainz, Maina; Adamyan

RB Leipzig

RB Leipzig will be missing the services of defender Lukas Klostermann due to a hip injury, which is set to keep him out until the end of the month. Mohamed Simakan was forced off after picking up a knock in the last five minutes against Darmstadt last week and has been listed as questionable for this weekend’s encounter.

RB Leipzig is expected to start in their typical 4-4-2 shape, with Janis Blaswich in goal. Benjamin Henrichs and David Raum will start as the full-backs, and the two players will look to help out both ways in the attack and contribute defensively. In the heart of the defence, Willi Orban will start alongside Castello Lukeba.

Elif Elmas and Xavi Simons will start as the wide players here, and they will look to add creativity and goals to the side. Kevin Kampl will start alongside Xaver Schlager in the middle of the park. The two players will look to keep things compact defensively and protect the central defence. Up top, Lois Openda will lead the line for the home side alongside Yussuf Poulsen.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Gulacsi; Henrichs, Orban, Lukeba, Raum; Elmas, Kampl, Schlager, Simons; Poulsen, Openda

Key Stats

  • FC Koln have won only two of their 13 Bundesliga matches against RB Leipzig (D5 L6).
  • The hosts haven’t won any of their last five Bundesliga matches (D3 L2) and won only one of their last 12 games (2-0 against Frankfurt, home, D6 L5).
  • The Billy Goats have lost three of their five home games under Timo Schultz (W1 D1) and failed to score in three home matches.
  • RB Leipzig recently won two Bundesliga games in a row for the first time in 2024, totaling as many victories as the previous eight Bundesliga games combined.
  • The home side rank 18th in the Bundesliga in goals scored with 19 in 25 games.

Player to Watch

Lois Openda

Embed from Getty Images

Openda, who joined RB Leipzig from Club Brugge last summer for a record £35 million fee, has already established himself as one of the most effective strikers in Germany.

The Belgian international has netted an impressive 17 goals in 24 Bundesliga appearances so far this term, making him the division’s third-highest scorer behind Harry Kane and Serhou Guirassy. He will rub his hands at the prospect of facing a leaky FC Koln backline in this game.


FC Koln 1-3 RB Leipzig

RB Leipzig are undoubtedly the superior team here, and they should be able to emerge as comfortable victors in front of their fans. They have confidence and momentum with them. On the other hand, Koln have endured a winless streak in their last five matches with a combination of draws and losses.

They enter the game as major underdogs. It is evident that the side are lacking in sharpness, defensive resilience, and confidence right now. The visitors should be able to pick up all three points without much fuss here. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for RB Leipzig over Koln.

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