1.FC Cologne vs. Bayer Leverkusen / Bundesliga – Cologne is welcoming this neighbourhood derby with four points more on the account of Bayer and is in itself a surprise. We expected much more from the team from Leverkusen, which is not playing very good in the Champions League, but it is modest enough in the championship only for a place in the middle of the table. Cologne showed a lot more, although, this team plays weaker lately, and they made four matches without a win, while Bayer after two victories, totally unexpectedly lost to Ingolstadt. Last season Bayer celebrated with 2-0 away, while Cologne won in Leverkusen with 2-1.Begins: 21.12.2016. – 20:00 CET
Cologne can still be satisfied with this season, although they have recently evidently dropped in shape, and that triumph that they have made in M’gladbach in mid-November was their last. In the next four matches, they have made three draws, with a heavy defeat away by Hoffenheim. It was by far their worst season, which they quickly forgotten and they were good already in the match against Borussia Dortmund and they were only a few minutes away from the victory. In the last round, they played with Werder Bremen and also took the lead, and it is interesting that the shooter in both duels was Rudnevs, who has so far taken on that role from Modeste.
What is particularly worth emphasizing in their game is what Cologne shows at home. They still have not lost the match at home and they received only three goals in seven matches. For some time they were deprived of services of their first goalkeeper Horn and center-back Maroh. In the meantime, they also lost their important midfielders M.Lehmann and Risse, which can also be the reason for their weaker games and results. There are also problems with the suspensions , so Ozcan could not play in Bremen, and Hoger got the fifth yellow card, so he will not be able to perform now and Ozcan will probably replace him.
Probable lineups 1.FC Cologne: Kessler – Sorensen, Mavraj, Heintz – Olkowski, Rausch – Ozcan, J.Hector – Osako – Rudnevs, Modeste
Placement in the middle of the table reveals what kind of season the team of Bayer has, and we can also add that they are totally unpredictable and it almost does not matter whether they are playing at home or away, or how powerful the opponent is on the other side. They were able to parry Bayern in Munich, although they were defeated with 2-1. After that Freibutg has won one point in Leverkusen. This was followed by two wins over Monaco in the Champions League and Schalke in the championship, both away, and then a new shock when they lost at home to Ingolstadt on Sunday. They were losing games at home three times this season, but the last defeat was really shocking because Ingolstadt is the team from the relegation zone.
To make matters worse, they were completely outplayed in that duel, although it must be said that their midfielder Aranguiz was of suspended at the beginning of the second half. Before that, they received the first goal, and then equalised with one player less on the field, but they did not endure and were saved from a total catastrophe by goalkeeper Leno. From their four standard players in the last line, only center-back Tah was in the team, while Henrichs, Toprak and Wendell were all absent. Coach Schmidt will not gamble now and all three are coming back in the team, and Brandt in the midfield, where he will replace the suspended Aranguiz.
Probable lineups Bayer Leverkusen: Leno – Henrichs, Tah, Toprak, Wendell – Baumgartlinger, Kampl – Brandt, Calhanoglu, Mehmedi – Chicharito
1.FC Cologne vs. Bayer Leverkusen PICK
Cologne is quite solid this season and they are still undefeated at home and no one has managed to outplay any one there, so we do not think that Bayer will manage to do that, which only occasionally flashes. This could be one tough match in Cologne, so a draw seems like the most reasonable option, with a small number of goals.
Pick: under 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.80 at bet365 (down to 1.70 can be played)