A historically bad FC Köln team will drag its sorry carcass on Wednesday to the Allianz Arena on matchday 16. Köln is cemented to the bottom of the Bundesliga table with an astonishing total of 3 points, all from draws. They have not won a game all season, but have been defeated twelve times. Last weekend, after taking a 3:0 lead against Freiburg, they spectacularly lost 3:4, conceding two penalties in stoppage time. There is literally nothing positive to say about them.
Tom Starke and plenty of options
The major lineup news since last week concerns Sven Ulreich. At the pre-game press conference, Jupp Heynckes revealed that the adductor injury that prevented Ulreich from starting against Hannover does not appear to be severe, but he is not yet ready to start on Wednesday. Tom Starke will thus stand in goal yet again in the hope of earning yet another clean sheet.
Heynckes has a variety of options for the rest of the lineup, with the exception of Arjen Robben, who is not yet ready to make his comeback. Kingsley Coman should be on the roster, as will Mats Hummels, who has struggled with a cold recently. Both may play, but are unlikely to start. Juan Bernat still appears to be struggling with muscular issues after recovering from his ankle injury.
The lineup will definitely include Robert Lewandowski, who sat out against Hannover, and probably feature a rotated midfield:
Franck Ribery can start on the left wing, giving Coman additional time to recover, while James and Müller drive the attack behind Lewandowski. A midfield tandem of Sebastian Rudy and Corentin Tolisso can provide for stability and an offensive edge, as put on such powerful display against Paris Saint-Germain.
On the back line, David Alaba should be ready to start, while Niklas Süle can relieve Hummels. It's possible that Heynckes gives Kimmich a rest, but I think it is more likely that he will start rather than Rafinha, who started at left-back over the weekend.
Köln: “Bring out yer dead!”
Just over a week ago, Köln at last took the fateful decision to fire longtime head coach Peter Stöger. Stöger was promptly hired by Borussia Dortmund. His former team? Yet another devastating, self-inflicted defeat to Freiburg.
After the glory of last season, Köln's present nightmare has no end in sight. Köln's offense departed to China with star player Anthony Modeste. The Effzeh was swiftly eliminated from the Europa League while suffering a string of defeats in the Bundesliga. Köln has lost virtually all of their most talented players to an unending succession of injuries.
To top it all off, in the week since firing Stöger, Köln's last two attackers standing were felled: Yuya Osako has a respiratory inflammation, and Sehrou Guirassy (who is already replacing an injured Jhon Cordoba) has an inflamed toenail. So it goes.
With an injured list fourteen names long, Köln look dead on arrival. Here's what's left:
Sure, miracles happen. But look for Lewandowski to fire his Torjägerkanone.