Bayer Leverkusen vs 1. FC Köln Preview: Leverkusen hoping to end the season on a high

Korkut's Leverkusen looking to end their five game winless run with a victory over Köln. Köln manager Stöger hoping to extend their three-game unbeaten run.

Bayer Leverkusen vs 1. FC Köln Preview: Leverkusen hoping to end the season on a high
Can Leverkusen put the past behind them in order to grab all three points against Köln? (Photo via Getty Images)

After their disapointing 1-1 draw away to FC Ingolstadt, Bayer Leverkusen are looking to rediscover their form of last to defeat cross town rivals, 1. FC Köln

As for Köln, they are coming into the game following a thrilling 4-3 victory against Werder Bremen, in which Anthony Modeste bagged an impressive brace. 

The last time they met 

The last Rhine derby took place all the way back in matchday 16. Leverkusen came out 2-0 winners playing away from home - goals from Julian Brandt and Javier Hernandez gave then, Roger Schmidt's men the edge. 

The match didn't come without controversy however. Both Leonardo Bittencourt and Wendell Borges received red cards in the 96th minute.  

Key players 

Bernd Leno will have to be on top of his game in order to keep the prolific Modeste quiet. The Frenchman has netted 27 times in all competitions so far this season, and he will be looking to add to that tally come Saturday afternoon. Leno has conceded goals in his last three games, against; Ingolstadt, Schalke as well as SC Freiburg - a performance similar of that against Bayern Munich is what it will take to stop the free firing Köln side from scoring past him. 

It's safe to say that the goals have dried up this season for Leverkusen, which could be a reason as to why they're having such a poor  season. If they are to beat their close rivals, Köln, then the performance of Javier Hernandez will be key.

The Mexican has scored just 12 goals this season - a stark contrast from the 26 that Chicharito netted in all competitions last season. However, now that he has seemingly recovered from injury he should be looking to have a positive end to the season. Fortunately for Hernandez, the stats are on his side for the upcoming match. In Köln's last 10 matches, both teams have scored in the game eight times. 

Köln will require a big performance from ex-Dortmund star, Neven Subotić if they are to have success in the Rhine derby. Since joining from BVB the American-born Serbian has featured 11 times for The Billy Goats and by all accounts has impressed. Subotic will have to be on top of his game to keep Leverkusen's attack quiet. 

Inevitably if Köln ultimately want to win the derby then Modeste will have to continue his goal scoring exploits. 27 goals so far for the season is what the 29-year-old is currently sitting at and you can bet he has his eyes on the elusive 30 goal tally. 

Team news 

Die Werkself will be without some key figures ahead of the derby. Lars Bender and Ömer Toprak have both been ruled out of the game through injury. 

Hakan Calhanoglu is of course out of the game. Julian Brandt and Jonathan Tah are both doubtful for the game, as Korkut confirmed in the pre-match press conference that they "are still training individually". 

Köln are without Sehrou Guirassy and Marcel Risse both of whom picked up knocks in training. 


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