Form: On the up but not out of the woods
A tally of nine points from the last four matches represents an upturn in form for Köln, who had previously gone five games without a win. That improvement culminated in a 2-1 victory at local rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend, which left the Billy Goats in 14th place with 21 points from 20 games.
|1. FC Köln 2020/21|
|Stats||5 wins, 6 draws, 9 defeats, 20:33 goal difference, 21 points, 14th in the table|
|Goalscorers||Rexhbecaj (5), Skhiri (3), Andersson (2), Drexler (2), Duda (2), Thielmann (2), Wolf (2), Czichos (1)|
Tactics: Formation switch paying off
Coach Markus Gisdol has employed a 4-2-3-1 formation for much of this season, but in recent weeks he’s used 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 – and with success. An advantage of the new tactical set-up is that the full-backs have more space on the wings to release their creativity.
Gisdol’s men have scored six goals in their last four games, having netted just 13 across the previous 16. Key to that attacking improvement has been derby hero Elvis Rexhbecaj, who not only netted a brace against Gladbach but is also now Köln’s top scorer with five goals this season.
One to watch: Emmanuel Dennis
Emmanuel Dennis moved to the city on the Rhine during the January transfer window, joining on loan from Club Brugge until the end of the campaign. The Nigerian striker scored 29 goals and laid on 13 assists in 116 competitive appearances for Brugge from July 2017 to December 2020, helping them to win the Belgian title in both the 2017/18 and 2019/20 seasons. Now the 23-year-old will be looking to use his pace and technical quality to support Köln in their survival bid.