Köln and Darmstadt could take a huge step towards Bundesliga survival with victory at the RheinEnergieSTADION. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Köln and Darmstadt could take a huge step towards Bundesliga survival with victory at the RheinEnergieSTADION. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Köln and Darmstadt eyeing survival on Matchday 31

1. FC Köln and SV Darmstadt 98 meet at the RheinEnergieSTADION with survival in their sights on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 15:30CEST/13:30GMT).

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Köln's stirring comeback win in Mainz last weekend took the Billy Goats six points clear of the relegation zone and to within one win of the fabled 40-point safe house. Victory over Darmstadt would almost certainly be enough to put any lingering relegation concerns to bed, although they will have to overcome a barren run of four straight home defeats first.

Darmstadt were also victorious on Matchday 30, running out 2-0 winners against fellow promoted outfit FC Ingolstadt 04. The Lilies climbed to 11th in the table as a result, but Dirk Schuster will be keen for his side to build on their existing four-point buffer on the bottom three at Köln, with games against Eintracht Frankfurt, Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach still to come.

- © gettyimages / Alex Grimm/Bongarts

Matchday 14 rewind:Darmstadt 0-0 Köln


Matchday 31 - match stats

    Köln would reach the 40-point mark with victory, likely ensuring their Bundesliga survival.A win for Darmstadt would take them to 38 points. Karlsruher SC are the only team ever to have been relegated with 38 points, when they finished 16th in the 1997/98 campaign.Darmstadt's win 2-0 win over FC Ingolstadt last Saturday was their eighth victory this season. The Lilies have never picked up so many wins in a top-flight season.The Ingolstadt game was Darmstadt's second win in a row. Schuster's team have never celebrated three consecutive Bundesliga victories.Köln's 3-2 win over 1. FSV Mainz 05 last Sunday was the first time the Billy Goats had ever overhauled such a two-goal deficit under coach Peter Stöger. The last time Köln came from two goals down to win was in February 2011, when they beat then-champions FC Bayern München 3-2.Köln have lost the last four games at their RheinEnergieSTADION. The North Rhine-Westphalia club have not lost five consecutive home games since the 2001/2002 season.Darmstadt striker Sandro Wagner has been involved in a goal in each of his last five games (four goals, one assist).Only Bayern's Robert Lewandowski (12) and SV Werder Bremen's Claudio Pizarro (11) have scored more goals in the Rückrunde than Wagner (nine).Darmstadt are the team against whom Köln have the best record in the Bundesliga, with three wins and two draws from their five top-flight encounters to date.Köln only have longer undefeated Bundesliga records against FC Energie Cottbus and Wuppertaler SV. If Köln avoid defeat on Saturday, Darmstadt will draw level with those clubs.

Possible line-ups

Köln: Horn – Risse, Heintz, Mavraj, Maroh, Hector – Gerhardt, Lehmann – Mladenovic, Zoller, Modeste

Absentees: Bittencourt (suspended)

Coach: Peter Stöger

Darmstadt: Mathenia - Jungwirth, Sulu, Caldirola, Holland - Niemeyer, Gondorf - Heller, Rausch - Vrancic - Wagner

Absentees: Rajkovic (hamstring), Rosenthal (Achilles), Stroh-Engel (back)

Coach: Dirk Schuster