It’s likely to be fiery on Sunday afternoon in Cologne when the home side – bottom of the standings and desperate to kick off the second half of the season with a victory – welcome fierce local rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach for the Rhine Derby, one of the Bundesliga’s most storied fixtures (kick-off: 15:30 CET/14:30 GMT).


After a nightmarish first half of the season that left the club nine points adrift at the bottom of the standings, Cologne have used the winter break for rest and recuperation and welcome back a number of first-team regulars. Left-back Jonas Hector is available again after suffering an ankle injury suffered in September, while Simon Terodde – back at the club after spells with Union Berlin, Bochum and Stuttgart – should be handed a start up front. Christian Clemens and Yuya Osako have also been passed fit.

Despite the break, Gladbach are still battling with a number of injury problems, including the continued absence of attacking midfielders Fabian Johnson and Ibrahima Traore. Fortunately for Dieter Hecking, Raffael, who scored three braces during the Hinrunde, should be fit to lead the line after overcoming calf problems. Thorgan Hazard is expected to get the nod in the creative role behind the Brazilian.

Watch: The Rhine Derby explained in 99 seconds

Probable line-ups

Cologne: Horn – Klünter, Sörensen, Heintz, Hector – Lehmann (c), Höger – Zoller, Jojic, Rausch – Terodde
Absentees: Queiros (neck), Maroh (thigh), Bittencourt (groin), Cordoba (thigh)
Coach: Stefan Ruthenbeck

Borussia Mönchengladbach: Sommer – Elvedi, Vestergaard, Ginter, Wendt – Zakaria, Kramer – Herrmann, Stindl (c), Hazard – Raffael
Absentees: Doucoure (thigh), Strobl (knee ligaments), Traore (thigh), Benes (broken foot), Johnson (back), Bobadilla (pelvis)
Coach: Dieter Hecking

Match stats

  • Cologne went into the winter break bottom of the table for the first time in 20 years.
  • Cologne’s record return for a second half of a Bundesliga season is 29 points, but even that might not be enough to keep them afloat. They picked up 23 points after the winter break last term.
  • Cologne have the worst defence in the Bundesliga this season (32 goals conceded), but Gladbach are not far behind (28).
  • Gladbach amassed 11 more points during the first half of the season than they did in their first 17 outings of the previous campaign.
  • Borussia have celebrated more than twice as many Rhine Derby wins (48) than Cologne (23).
  • Gladbach have won more games against Cologne than against any other Bundesliga club.

Click here for the Cologne vs. Gladbach MatchCentre!

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