Thursday 31st January, 19:30
Both sides ended 2018 with a loss, with both teams looking to make up lost ground in their pursuit of promotion.
Stadion An der Alten Försterei
Union Berlin’s last match seen Urs Fischer’s men convincingly beaten by Erzgebirge Aue before the Winter break. Despite being in a decent league position, fighting for a play-off spot, Berlin will be relieved to return to home soil for this clash with FC Cologne. The side hasn’t had a victory away from home since October in the league, but their lofty league position can be accredited to the team’s ability to win matches at home, they are currently unbeaten at home in the 2. Bundesliga, and won 67% of their matches at home and more importantly they have cut out the draws from their home form, as they have only shared the spoils at home on three occasions, whereas away they have drawn seven times.
A contributing factor to their home success, is the fact that Union Berlin have been able to get amongst the goals at home this season, they have only failed to score once at home in the domestic campaign. Goals have been key to Die Eisernen (The Iron Ones’) success this season, with them averaging two goals per game (2.11) and conceding on average less than a goal per game (0.56).
Over the season as a whole, Fischer’s team have struggled with picking up too many draws. Currently, the home side have drawn ten matches this season, more than any other 2. Bundesliga club. A contributing factor to this unwanted stat is the lack of shut-outs they have earnt this season. Less than 25% of their matches have seen them gain a clean sheet. Also over 65% of their matches have ended with both teams having scored.
Almost the polar opposite to Union Berlin, FC Cologne haven’t enjoyed matches played at home, in fact FC Cologne have a better record playing away than they do on home soil. So far this season, Cologne have only lost once on the road compared to the three losses they picked up playing at home. They have also won six of their eight away matches.
Like Union Berlin, FC Cologne’s success on the road has come down to goals. On average, FC Cologne have scored 2 goals per game (2.61) overall this season, they have managed to keep this up in both home and away matches. Their shortcomings at home come from conceding at least one goal per game (1.50), which they have been able to stem in their away games as they have conceded less than a goal per game (0.88).
FC Cologne manager, Markus Anfang, can thank the level of quality in his squad at his disposal for being in 2nd place in the 2. Bundesliga. After relegation from the top tier of German football, FC Cologne were able to keep a hold of German International, Jonas Hector, who has picked up several goals and an assist from his left back position. Also FC Cologne acquired Louis Schaub from Rapid Vienna in the summer, who has been instrumental in picking up wins for his side, as he has contributed nine assists which is the highest amount of assists in the division. Although he would have a lot to thank Simon Terodde for, as he has been in fine form this season leading the league’s goal scoring charts at twenty-two goals. He was less effective for FC Cologne and his previous club, Stuttgart, in the Bundesliga, but in the 2. Bundesliga he’s shown he can thrive as his last term spent in the lower division seen him notch twenty-five goals in Stuttgart’s promotion season.
FC Cologne will be hampered somewhat in this tie. Injuries to Drexler and Schaub in the winter break may see FC Cologne lacking in the chance creation department. New signings, Johannes Geis and Florian Kainz maybe in place to debut to cover for FC Cologne’s growing list of absentees. Kainz’ involvement as a winger could see Anfang revert to a wider approach to his attack, hoping to maintain the service to his forward Terodde.
Union Berlin have only Joshua Mees as a fresh injury concern, as the midfielder picked up an injury in the winter break making him a doubt for this top of the table clash. Potentially taking his place is new signing Carlos Mane, brought in on-loan from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, fans will be excited to see him perform to the levels he produced for Stuttgart during their promotion season.
Given the strength Union Berlin hold when playing at home, and FC Cologne’s effectiveness whilst playing away, not a lot separates these two sides. Both sides finished 2018 with a disappointing loss and both sides have been able to get themselves goals this season. Union Berlin and FC Cologne have produced two goals per game whilst playing home and away, respectively. As a result, this game is likely to end with both teams scoring which is priced at 13/20.
With Union Berlin averaging just over 2.5 goals per game in their home matches (average of both goals scored and conceded) and FC Cologne producing on average over 3.0 goals per game in their away matches, goals are to be expected in this one. This game is priced at 17/20 to end with over 2.5 goals scored.
FC Cologne have shown this season that they like to leave it late to win against teams, scoring on average only 35% of their goals in the first half of games, whereas in the second half they have scored 65% of their goals this season. Likewise, their opponents have scored 60% of their goals in the second half, this shows a lot of value in both teams scoring in the second half which is priced at 11/5.
The likely producer of those goals for FC Cologne will be Terodde, who will be spearheading the away side’s attack, is priced at 10/11 to score anytime. Before the winter break, the German target man, was on a run of scoring in six games consecutively, scoring nine goals in that period. On the other hand, Union Berlin don’t have a main scorer with their top goalscorer, Seb Andersson, only finding the net six times. Showing they have shared the goals amongst their squad this season.
Both teams to score in the second half – 11/5
Over 2.5 Goals – 17/20