The first Rheinland Derby of the season kicks off on Saturday as Koln hosts Borussia Monchengladbach at the RheinEnergieStadion.
Both sides are yet to win a game this season, with the hosts losing to Hoffenheim and Arminia Bielefield, while the Foals could only muster one point from matches against Borussia Dortmund and Union Berlin.
Koln - Markus Gisdol, in his pre-match press conference, said, "Ismail Jakobs and Jorge Mere aren't quite ready for the derby, Benno Schmitz is fit again, while we will have to wait and see on Jonas Hector". On top of those injuries, both Florian Kainz and Anthony Modeste remain out.
Borussia Monchengladbach - Marco Rose stated that, "Breel Embolo isn't an option for the starting line-up yet, although he has trained with the team throughout the week". Fellow countryman Denis Zakaria is closing in on a return after being injured since March, while Laszlo Benes, Valentino Lazaro, Julio Villalba and Andreas Poulsen all remain out.
Koln - Timo Horn; Kingsley Ehizibue, Sebastian Bornauw, Rafael Czichos, Jannes Horn; Ellyes Skhiri, Elvis Rexhbecaj ; Dominic Drexler, Ondrej Duda, Dimitrios Limnios ; Sebastian Andersson
Borussia Monchengladbach - Yann Sommer; Stefan Lainer, Nico Elvedi, Matthias Ginter, Ramy Bensebaini; Christoph Kramer, Florian Neuhaus; Jonas Hoffman, Lars Stindl, Marcus Thuram; Alassane Plea
Koln - DLWLL - Last game : 1-0 (L) vs Arminia Bielefeld
Borussia Monchengladbach - WWWLD - Last game : 1-1 vs Union Berlin
Ones to watch
Koln - The big Swede Sebastian Andersson, who grabbed 12 goals in his inaugural Bundesliga season last time out, has been brought in to replace the departed Jhon Cordoba. The 29 year old has opted to swap Berlin for Koln in the hope of improving on last seasons 14th placed finish. Two of Andersson's 12 goals last season came against Monchengladbach, so the defence will have to be wary of him when they visit the RheinEnergieStadion on Saturday.
Borussia Monchengladbach - Frenchman Alassane Plea made his first start of the season against Union Berlin last weekend, and will be looking to build upon that performance in the Rheinland Derby. In last seasons trip to Koln, Plea scored the only goal of the game to give Gladbach all three points. Double figures in both goals and assists last term, his partnership with fellow countryman Marcus Thuram could prove the difference on the afternoon.
Last season Monchengladbach did a derby double over their Rheinland neighbours, with a 1-0 win at Koln, while their 2-1 victory at Borussia-Park was the first game played behind closed doors and the last before lockdown. In previous seasons it has been more even, with each team picking up two wins apiece from the last two campaigns. Interestingly enough, both of Koln's wins came courtesy of stoppage-time goals.
Where to watch on TV
Unfortunately for UK viewers this game will not be broadcasted live, but those in the United States can see the game on ESPN+.
What the managers have said
Koln - Markus Gisdol, Head Coach - "I would be lying if I said that the topic of fans/no fans wasn't something within the coaching staff. It's always good to have your own fans there and we'd be buzzing if thee fans could come."
"The season is still young, Gladbach have a strong team that are taking part in the Champions League. I wouldn't put too much importance on their results so far. They're a strong opponent, but we've got the better of such teams before."
Horst Heldt, Sporting Director - "Whether or not fans can attend the game, that will be decided tomorrow. It's decisive as to where the incidence rate lies under 35."
"Even when we are playing without fans, a derby is a derby."
Borussia Monchengladbach - Marco Rose, Manager - "I don't think Koln will have the same approach as Union Berlin. They will play with a high intensity. I'm expecting an aggressive opponent, but we'll look to play our own game."
"We'd obviously like to have our fans there for a derby, but the situation doesn't allow for it at the moment. We simply have to accept that."
"We're not happy with our points return so far. We didn't play badly in the first two games, but we're trying to get everything to gel a little more."