Cologne vs. Schalke: probable line-ups, match stats and LIVE blog!
Jonas Hector is expected to return to the Cologne starting line-up for the visit of Weston McKennie and Schalke to the RheinEnergieStadion on Saturday (kick-off: 6.30pm CET/5.30pm GMT/12.30pm ET).
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Cologne captain Jonas Hector was a late withdrawal from the team to face Hertha Berlin last weekend after picking up a knock in the warm-up. Queens Park Rangers loanee Toni Leistner came in, as Hector sat back and enjoyed a comprehensive 5-0 victory. The Billy Goats have now won six of their last eight, only losing to Borussia Dortmund and leaders Bayern Munich in that time, to move six points clear of the relegation zone with 11 rounds of fixtures remaining. Jhon Cordoba's upswing under coach Markus Gisdol mirrors that of his team. The Colombian has scored eight of his team-leading nine goals since the former Hoffenheim and Hamburg boss replaced Achim Beierlorzer in the hot seat, including his second brace in six games in the win at Hertha. With Rafael Czichos ruled out, the suspension-free Sebastian Bornauw is expected to slot back into the defence alongside Leistner, with Elvis Rexhbecaj dropping out of the midfield to accommodate Hector. Forward Mark Uth is set to face his parent club on a run of a goal or assist in each of his five Bundesliga games.
While Cologne were getting ready to paint the Cathedral City white and red at Karneval, Schalke were on the receiving end of a 5-0 defeat to RB Leipzig that extended their winless run to five league matches. The Royal Blues have taken just three points from a possible 15 during their on-going malaise, conceding 11, scoring one and slipping seven points adrift of the top four in the process. If results go against them once more this weekend, David Wagner's faltering European hopefuls could fall to ninth and out of continental contention for the first time since Matchday 11. Augsburg loanee Michael Gregoritsch is one of two Schalke's scorers in 2020, netting a debut goal in the 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach, and should return to the side after dropping to the bench against Leipzig. Goalkeeper Markus Schubert is also available against following injury, but isn't expected to displace Alexander Nübel. Six-goal midfielder Amine Harit makes the trip looking to break a 10-game scoreless cycle.
Watch: Jonas Hector scored a last-minute equaliser for Cologne in the reverse fixture
Cordoba is enjoying his most prolific top-flight season to date with nine goals. He hit 20 in Cologne's promotion campaign last term.
Attacking partner in crime Uth has already had a hand in more goals for the Billy Goats (six) than he did in 28 league games for Schalke (three).
Cologne's only defeats under Gisdol have come against the top three (Bayern, Leipzig and Dortmund), and in Berlin at Union.
Schubert has averaged six saves per game for Schalke this season; Nübel three, although the Schalke No.1 has played 14 more matches.
Suat Serdar has top-scored for Schalke this season with seven goals, although Harit has had a hand in more (six goals and four assists).
Schalke's 5-0 loss to Leipzig last Saturday was their first home defeat since August 2019, when they were beaten 3-0 by Bayern.
Cologne: Horn - Ehizibue, Bornauw, Leistner, Schmitz - Skhiri, Hector (c) - Kainz, Drexler, Jakobs - Cordoba
Out: Czichos (neck), Katterbach (ankle), Kessler (calf), Uth (loan agreement)
Doubtful: Modeste (groin)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Schalke: Nübel - Kenny, Kabak, Nastasic, Oczipka - McKennie, Mascarell (c), Serdar - Harit - Gregoritsch, Raman
Out: Caligiuri (knee), Sane (knee), Stambouli (metatarsal)
Doubtful: Miranda (calf), Schubert (knee)
Coach: David Wagner