Before #TSGKOE: "We’re hungry to climb the table"

Players have returned from international duty and the time for Bundesliga action has come again. On Saturday at 15:30 CEST, the ball will be rolling once again at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. On matchday 28, TSG Hoffenheim face relegation threatened 1. FC Köln. Julian Nagelsmann and are getting ready to face Stefan Ruthenbeck’s side.

Julian Nagelsmann on...

... the opposition.

“I watched Köln’s win in Leverkusen live in the stadium. Köln were clearly the better side and against one of the best teams in the league in my view. I rate them highly and they’re probably one of the best second-to-last teams in Europe. The team has progressed under Stefan Ruthenbeck. Compared with the first half of the season, they have more dangerous players going forward. Also, they’re doing the basics right once again under the new head coach. You can never be sure what they’re going to do going forwards or in defensively. At the winter break, people said: “Köln are down!” Now they have reason to right and are on the cusp of survival. They’ll be incredibly motivated for this game. Until now, we have a pretty good record against Köln so we’re hoping it stays that way on Saturday.”

... squad news.

“We’re unsure whether Ermin Bicakcic will be able to play at the weekend. He’s picked up a muscle strain on international duty. Aside from him, I think all our returning internationals are good to go. After his muscle worries, Oliver Baumann trained fully again yesterday. The game will be too soon for Kerem Demirbay. He won’t be able to play on Saturday – neither will Stefan Posch." 

... the sporting situation I.

“The focus of the last two training sessions has been chiefly on psychological recovery. We’ve just been through an intense period of football with ups and downs. The international break is best used to collect our thoughts and to not push the players too hard. We could only train with a small group of seven to ten first team players. That makes every session intense."  

 ... the sporting situation II.

"Our recent results has me optimistic for the end of season run-in. We’re carrying on with our journey and have been dangerous in the past few games – including Gladbach. In this position, I have to emphasise once more we were facing a very good side who were able to score three goals against away from home. My team is hungry to climb the table.  Some might say our performances this season have been patchy but you have to remember we’re on course to have the third best season in the club’s history. That’s not so bad in my eyes. We need to keep collecting points and I think we can be happy with how the season has played out."


Courtesy of a 3-0 win away on matchday 11 by Julian Nagelsmann’s side, Hoffenheim’s record against Köln is a positive one. Köln have won four times in this clash and TSG have won five. Six of the games have been draws.

The opposition's form

1. FC Köln can’t look at the Bundesliga table with a smile on their face at the moment as they lie in 17th place. However, Peter Stöger’s successor in the Rhineland has seen remarked improvement since the winter break. Of late, they won 2-0 with in their derby with Bayer 04 Leverkusen on matchday 27. Due to HSV’s loss to Hertha BSC, Köln are off the bottom of the table for the first time since matchday 2. The gap to survival is five points but Köln now have reason to dream. 

The key battle

The clash between TSG and 1. FC Köln will be decided in attack. TSG’s 19 goals in ten games means they have the second best attack in the Bundesliga for the second half of the season. Köln aren’t far behind as they have scored 17, If Kevin Vogt and Hoffenheim’s defence cane prevet Yuya Osako and Simon Terrode for getting into the game. TSG have every chance of winning the game through Serge Gnabry and Andrej Kramaric.

Match facts and statistics »

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