Wolfsburg VS FC Cologne Prediction
After regular Friday night opener in German Bundesliga, round continues in Saturday afternoon when “Volkswagen Arena” in Wolfsburg will host one of the fascinating second round fixtures – Wolfsburg vs FC Cologne. Both sides have began their season 2016-17 campaign with wins in first round of the DFB-Pokal and in Bundesliga, which automatically makes them two from the teams in form. However, Wolfsburg will have home advantage on their side and they’ll have even better chance to maintain their streak, while it’s pretty sure “The Billy Goats” from Cologne will be satisfied even on a draw from their visit in Lower Saxony.
Wolfsburg vs FC Cologne (1. FC Koln) – Match Preview
Wolves from Wolfsburg will celebrate their 71st anniversary on 12th September and this makes their home game even more special. Their domestic underperformance last season may be used as a positive this year as Dieter Hecking’s men will be focused entirely on their Bundesliga campaign and summer signings made by “The Wolves” are surely evidence for their intentions. Players like both centre-backs Jeffrey Bruma and Philipp Wollscheid, permanent move of French central midfielder Josuha Guilavogui, Yannick Gerhardt, Daniel Didavi, Jakub Blaszczykowski, German striker Mario Gomez, as latter will have to replace Dutch striker Bas Dost who has joined Portuguese Sporting CP. We shouldn’t forget names of two other youngsters who will add even more attacking options in Wolfsburg – Croatian winger Josip Brekalo has been bought by Dinamo Zagreb, while 19-year-old Spaniard Borja Mayoral arrives on a season-long deal from the UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid.
Really solid selection and transfer activity by Wolfsburg and it’s obvious they target something much alluring than 8th position in season 2015-2016.
FC Köln have finished only one position behind Wolfsburg last year and Peter Stöger’s men can’t be unhappy from their achievement. Step-by-step “The Billy Goats” are improving and fact they kept their left back Jonas Hector, who was followed by many top European clubs, shows their intention for better positioning as well.
Köln’s manager Peter Stöger wasn’t so active on the transfer market but he definitely added some strength in the team as names of Marco Höger (coming from Schalke 04), Konstantin Rausch (from SV Darmstadt 98), Sehrou Guirassy (from Lille) and Artjoms Rudnevs, who arrived as a free transfer after his spell at Hamburger SV, must increase team’s forces in midfield and attack. To be honest, defense of Köln looks really well organized and quartet including players like Jonas Hector, Frederik Sörensen, Dominique Heintz and experienced centre-back Mergim Mavraj looks really promising for a midtable team.
Wolfsburg vs 1. FC Koln – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
Breaking of Köln’s defensive formation will be the main task which Wolfsburg will try to execute in Saturday afternoon and potential start for Mario Gomez can be really helpful for completing it. Gomez arrives in Wolfsburg with very solid CV and we don’t believe he’ll need more time to adapting in Bundesliga football, as we expect kicking start for the 31-year-old striker.
He’ll receive great backup by players like Daniel Caligiuri, Julian Draxler and Daniel Didavi and we can say that Wolfsburg proposes really impressive attacking formation with all these names in. Their midfield line can be changed since Maximilian Arnold is expected to replace summer signing Yannick Gerhardt as partner of Luiz Gustavo, which means that Gerhardt won’t be able to start against his former club. Nevertheless, his presence even on the bench can be used in right moment and names of both mentioned midfielders (Gerhardt & Arnold) can absolutely cover absence of injured French midfielder Josuha Guilavogui. Meanwhile Polish winger Jakub Błaszczykowski should start once again as a right-back, where Dieter Hecking can pick between him, Christian Träsch, Sebastian Jung and Vierinha.
Köln will travel to Wolfsburg without injured defender Dominic Maroh and his absence can be covered by Dominique Heintz, but biggest issue is surely related with the goalkeeping position. 20-year-old goalkeeper Sven Müller may live his dream as expectations are he’ll make debut for Köln since other goalkeepers are unavailable – Thomas Kessler and Timo Horn are both injured. Well, first choice keeper in face of Timo Horn has returned in training, but Köln’s medical staff gave green light he should be ready to against Freiburg next round, not yet. Otherwise all key players who were involved in the 2-0 win against SV Darmstadt are pushing to start and exceptions are coming from both summer signings – Konstantin Rausch remains doubtful, while Sehrou Guirassy is injured.
Wolfsburg had some serious trouble in their away fixtures last season as they were one of the weakest visitors in Bundesliga’s standings. Only few months later “Wolves” are showing their teeth and they’ve opened the new season with two victories on the road – by winning in Frankfurt (2-1 vs FSV Frankfurt) in German Cup opening round, followed by their victory in Augsburg in opening Bundesliga weekend – 2:0 at “WWK Arena”.
Now Wolfsburg are heading to their first home game and as we already mentioned, this will happen two days before their 71st birthday. We find good arguments to place a bet on the home win, maybe it will happen in difficult way, but still we think that “Wolves” from Wolfsburg will find a route to eat “The Billy Goats” at home turf.
Venue: “Volkswagen-Arena”, Wolfsburg.
Referee: Guido Winkmann.
Possible starting lineups of Wolfsburg and 1. FC Köln
VfL Wolfsburg: Koen Casteels – Ricardo Rodriguez, Jeffrey Bruma, Robin Knoche, Jakub Blaszczykowski – Luiz Gustavo, Maximilian Arnold – Julian Draxler, Daniel Didavi, Daniel Caligiuri – Mario Gomez. (4-2-3-1)
1. FC Köln: Sven Müller – Jonas Hector, Dominique Heintz, Mergim Mavraj, Frederik Sörensen – Leonardo Bittencourt, Matthias Lehmann, Marco Höger, Marcel Risse – Artjoms Rudnevs, Anthony Modeste. (4-4-2)