Köln proved they are no pushovers on Matchday 15 when they overcame FC Schalke 04 at the Veltins Arena, but Dieter Hecking is calling for one last effort from his Wolfsburg side as they aim to stay in touch with the runaway league leaders.
bundesliga.com has all the information you need ahead of Saturday evening's clash…
Wolfsburg continue to be the only major rival to Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga, although the Wolves' more realistic target will be to hold second place and qualify for the UEFA Champions League, which is why maintaining or increasing their four-point advantage they have over fourth remains their priority. Köln, meanwhile, need to be careful of what is happening over their shoulders, with ten clubs – the Billy Goats included – all grouped within five points.
Last game of the year - kick-off, Saturday 18.30 CET pic.twitter.com/6gpyMVNj2D— VfL Wolfsburg EN (@VfLWolfsburg_EN) December 19, 2014
Once again, Hecking has practically a full squad to choose from and, being the last game of the year, there is little reason for him to rotate, meaning he should send his first-choice team into action with (r.) leading the line and dropping back to the bench.
is the only new absentee for Peter Stöger due to a one-game suspension. Daniel Halfar (l.), who came on in the 0-0 draw in Mainz in midweek, should take his place in the midfield with Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah leading the line.
(r.) provided the equalising goal for Naldo in the 2-2 draw against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, making a successful return to the side after missing two of the Wolves' last three games. His ability to get down the wing, not to mention his set-piece credentials, provide an added option in Wolfsburg's attack and a little more space for to operate in.
(l.) has come into his own as the season has progressed, netting five goals in his last eight appearances and six in total this season – almost half of Köln's Bundesliga goals. A tricky customer, both with the ball on the ground and in the air, his eye for goal is ever sharpening.
, Wolfsburg defender: I'm like a good wine – the older I get, the better I become."
Peter Stöger, Köln coach: "They've got so much quality in attack that we can't expect to come away with a clean sheet. We're going to need at least one goal to get anything from the game."
Wolfsburg have lost only one of their last 11, but back-to-back draws have seen them lose ground on Bayern and reduce their advantage over the chasing back. Köln drew 0-0 at Mainz in midweek after snapping a three-game losing streak in Gelsenkirchen on Matchday 15.
In 18 previous meetings, Köln have only been able to win three times, and only once have they collected all three points at the Volkswagen Arena. That 3-2 win came in 2010, since which the Wolves have drawn one and won three of the last four encounters.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Jung, Knoche, Naldo, Rodriguez - Guilavogui, Luiz Gustavo - Perisic, De Bruyne, Vieirinha - Olic
Köln: Horn - Hector, Wimmer, Maroh, Olkowski - Lehmann, Matuschyk - Svento, Gerhardt, Halfar - Ujah