Summary

  • Stöger says current squad is the best he has ever had.
  • Only three sides conceded fewer goals than Billy Goats last season.
  • Meier keen to make winning start as Darmstadt coach.

Peter Stöger will be looking to see whether his "best-ever" 1. FC Köln squad can start the season with a win over Norbert Meier's SV Darmstadt 98 on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).

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Only three teams conceded fewer goals in the Bundesliga than 1. FC Köln last season, and given the proclamation of their coach Stöger that he has "certainly the best and most balanced squad" since he took charge of the Billy Goats, Darmstadt could well be quaking in their boots at the prospect of paying the RheinEnergieSTADION a visit this weekend. "I'm very happy," added the Austrian, who will be hoping to keep that sentiment come full-time on Saturday.

Season preview: 1. FC Köln

Season preview; SV Darmstadt 98

Darmstadt arrive with their new coach Meier inheriting a team who would have finished fourth last season had only their away games counted. As it was, the Lilies finished 14th, but a repeat of the seven wins on their travels and will be the aim in their second straight top-flight campaign. That, Meier hopes, will begin on the Rhine.

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1. FC Köln are eyeing three points to kick off 2016/17 on Saturday.

Match stats

  • With 26 points on the road, Darmstadt were the fourth-best team on their travels behind Bayern, Dortmund and Leverkusen last season.
  • Only those three teams conceded fewer goals than Köln, who had the fourth-best defence in the division.
  • Meier is coaching in the Bundesliga for the second time, having been at the helm for Fortuna Düsseldorf in 2012/13.

The venue: RheinEnergieStadion

Possible line-ups

Köln: to follow

Absentees: Kessler (knee ligaments)

Head coach: Peter Stöger

Darmstadt: to follow

Absentees: Platte (hip)

Head coach: Norbert Meier