After Kev picked up a 2.3 winner on Friday evening, he brought us for the relegation playoffs Northern Germany.
“Kiel temporarily surpassed its famous opponents on Wednesday, they got two key midfielders back from suspension and they won seven of their last eight home games.”
The Rover returned with all three points last night and brought us a winner against the odds. Sligo’s 2-1 win against Finn Harps had some scary moments for us towards the end, but we will make it.
We will travel to Germany, and although I have Holstein Kiel’s success in the first leg of the relegation playoffs of the Bundesliga on Wednesday did not expect, I was so impressed with their performance that I believe they can finish the job and win promotion.
Kiel won 1-0 on Wednesday at the RheinEnergieStadion, as Sub Simon Lorenz only 20 seconds behind his move scored the winning goal. The storks threatened the counterattack and went almost further forward when center forward Janni Serra hit a header against the bar.
Cologne played skipper Jonas Hector out of position in attack, and while this strategy worked against RB Leipzig ( the captain scored two goals in the 2-1 win), this is not a long-term solution. It is to be hoped that the Swede Sebastian Andersson will be able to defy the effects of a knee injury and gain a foothold in the Holstein Stadium. Sports director Horst Heldt has to carry the can to bring strikers like Tolu Arokodare and Emmanuel Dennis, none of whom could convince Markus Gisdol or his coaching successor Friedhelm Funkel.
The veteran Funkel has played hundreds of games but failed to find a tactical answer in the first leg and there are concerns that he won’t find a solution this time either. Funkel defeated Fortuna Düsseldorf last season and also lost his only playoff with Bochum against Borussia Mönchengladbach. That may seem irrelevant (it was a long time ago and Bochum was an outsider), but it means that Funkel has not had a positive experience with this kind of opportunity to fall back on.
Kiel is the name of influential midfielders Jonas Meffert and Alexander Mühling back out of the lock and both should start. Mühling’s return is a special boost as he scored 12 goals in the regular season.
Cologne are 1,981/1 favorites here and I don’t think they should be. You have lost five of your last seven Bundesliga away games of the season and were also eliminated from the DFB Cup with second division club Jahn Regensburg.
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