In their first matchback in the Bundesliga after a year away, Schalke 04 will take on FC Koln on Sunday afternoon.
The opposition won the 2. Bundesliga last season by edging Werder Bremen, earning them promotion as champions, while the home team was able to secure a place in the Europa Conference League.
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FC Koln vs Schalke 04 Tips and Prediction
The first campaign Steffen Baumgart led Koln to victory can only be characterized as a colossal triumph. The Billy Goats, who finished seventh last season, will test their mettle in Europe after finishing 14th and 16th in the Bundesliga after their 2019 promotion.
By the end of the season, Baumgart’s team was only three points behind Freiburg for a spot in the Europa League. They will face either Fehervar or Petrocub Hincesti for their place in the Europa Conference League group stage, but their season has already started poorly.
For the first round of the DFB-Pokal last weekend, second-tier team SSV Jahn Regensburg anticipated Koln’s arrival. Despite the Billy Goats’ ability to rally from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game at 2-2 and force penalties, they were ultimately eliminated.
The morale will definitely be affected by an early cup loss to a lower-ranked team, but Baumgart at least has more time to focus on his squad’s Bundesliga and European accomplishments, and playing a newly promoted team of Schalke’s caliber won’t be an easy task.
It would ordinarily only make sense in an alternate reality for Schalke and Werder Bremen to be competing in the second division, yet both prestigious German teams are back in the big time for 2022–23, and it was the former that emerged as champions with the trophy in the cabinet.
Schalke’s relegation to the 2. Bundesliga was confirmed as early as the COVID-19 pandemic, and one will never forget the scenes of chaos from the fans, but Die Knappen are now back where they belong.
Last week, Bremer SV was Schalke’s opponent in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. Frank Kramer’s team put on a five-star performance in a 5-0 win to advance to the round of 16, with goals from Marcin Kaminski, Rodrigo Zalazar, Dominick Drexler, and an own goal from Sebastian Kmiec.
In the upcoming weeks, Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsburg, and Union Berlin will continue Schalke’s baptism of fire. The visitors arrive on opening day hoping to avoid a fourth straight defeat to Koln, who have not lost to Die Knappen at home since 2016.
Schalke’s performance against a fifth-tier team, which included five goals, is hardly a predictor of how well they will perform in the Bundesliga, but Koln’s confidence will have been shaken by their own DFB-Pokal loss.
Baumgart’s attacking options are continuing to suffer from injuries, but we still believe the Modeste-led Billy Goats will prevail in a tight game in front of their own supporters.