By Ben Sully @SullyBen
FC Köln will attempt to maintain their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season when they face a Stuttgart side who are looking for their first league win of the campaign.
After losing on penalties to Jahn Regensburg in the first round of the DFB-Pokal, Köln have bounced back to enjoy an unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season, as well as successfully negotiating a Europa Conference League playoff round tie against Fehervar despite losing the first leg.
Steffen Baumgart’s side began the Bundesliga season with a comfortable 3-1 win over newly-promoted Schalke, before coming from behind on two occasions to draw 2-2 with RB Leipzig on matchday two.
However, their first defeat of the campaign ocurred in the first leg of their playoff round tie against Hungary’s Fehervar. The 2-1 home defeat was followed by a 1-1 Bundesliga draw against Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, ensuring Köln are yet to lose in the league this season.
They turned their attention back to the Europa Conference League on Thursday, as they looked to overturn a 2-1 deficit. It proved to be an easy task for Köln, with goals from Timo Hübers, Ellyes Skhiri and Kingsley Schindler helping their side claim a 3-0 victory.
As a result of their win, Köln have been drawn in a group alongside Partizan Belgrade O.G.C. Nice and FC Slovacko, but they will be fully focused on league action this weekend where they will attempt to continue their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season.
Mark Uth is still sidelined for the hosts, who have reported no new injury concerns for Sunday’s contest.
Stuttgart are currently three points behind their hosts after beginning their league campaign with two draws and one defeat.
They drew 1-1 with RB Leipzig on the opening weekend of the season before travelling to Bremen for their first away game of the Bundesliga season. Stuttgart looked set to claim all three points after Wataru Endo and Silas gave them a 2-1 lead, but a late Oliver Burke equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time denied Stuttgart all three points.
After failing to collect their first league win, Stuttgart suffered their first defeat of the season last weekend, losing 1-0 to an in-form Freiburg side, leaving them in the bottom half of the table ahead of Sunday’s contest.
Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side have won only once in their last 10 league games, while they have also failed to win any of their previous 11 away matches in the Bundesliga, with Stuttgart still waiting for their first away league victory of 2022.
Although, they may be hopeful of recording a positive result on Sunday after drawing five of their last six away league matches.
With Saša Kalajdžić rumoured to be leaving the club, Matarazzo has confirmed that the forward will not feature on Sunday. The visitors will also be without the services of Nikolas Nartey and Tanguy Coulibaly due to injury issues.