FC Koln v Mainz: Billy Goats to take the points

FC Koln goalkeeper - Timo Horn
Timo Horn might find it a struggle to keep a clean sheet against Mainz

The Bundesliga is back, and on Sunday there is an intriguing clash between FC Koln and Mainz, with both teams being in decent form prior to the break. Paul Robinson takes a look...

The Billy Goats have been excellent since their change in manager, and as mentioned, they have won five of their last six in front of their own fans.

Back a 2-1 Correct Score @ [9.6]

FC Koln v Mainz
Sunday May 17, 14:30

Live on Betfair Live Video & BT Sport

Just a quick note before reading this preview, I urge anybody betting on the Bundesliga to read this excellent team-by-team guide which was written by German football expert, Kevin Hatchard.

Koln on the rise again

It has been a rollercoaster ride for FC Koln and their supporters in recent years, as after finishing fifth in the 2016/17 season and qualified for Europe.

Things went downhill on the domestic front though as they finished bottom of the Bundesliga, but it took them just one season to bounce back, and after a poor start to this year, they return from the enforced break in a relatively healthy 10th position.

Current manager, Markus Gisdol has only been in charge for 14 games, but he has won eight of them and his side had recorded three victories from their last four outings, prior to the break.

Aside from a 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich, their form at home has been excellent since December. Their last loss before Bayern was to Hoffenheim on November 8th, and they have since beaten Leverkusen, Bremen, Wolfsburg, Freiburg and Schalke.

As for how the rest of their season will go, it will depend heavily on motivation, as relegation shouldn't become an issue, but they are likely too far back to make the European places.

Mainz still have to look over their shoulder

The suspension of the Bundesliga probably came at the wrong time for Mainz, as they had put a few results together, which enabled them to pull clear of the bottom two.

Achim Beierlorzer's men had put four straight defeats behind them to lose just one of their last five - a run which included victories over Hertha and Paderborn.

A relegation play-off is still of huge concern for the 05ers though, as they only have a four point cushion over Fortuna Dusseldorf, and they just lose far too many matches - only Paderborn have been beaten more often.

It is going to be a battle for the rest of the campaign, but they have already faced Bayern twice, and their remaining fixture against Leipzig is at home.

Is the home win value at almost evens?

If this was a regular game, played under normal conditions, I would certainly be taking the [1.94] about a Koln win here.

The Billy Goats have been excellent since their change in manager, and as mentioned, they have won five of their last six in front of their own fans.

There won't be any fans in attendance at the RheinEnergieStadion on Sunday though, and the fitness of the players is anybody's guess.

Both the draw and the away win are currently trading at around the [4.0] mark on the Betfair Exchange, but I feel that they would be bigger under normal circumstances.

I guess the question here is - what price would Koln be if it was a regular game, and are their current odds different enough to be worth backing.

The answer for me is probably a marginal 'yes'. However I certainly wouldn't be betting big on them, and I would rather recommend chancing a correct score at bigger odds, for smaller stakes.

The visitors certainly appear capable of scoring goals on the road - they have 19 in 12 away games, compared to just 15 from 13 at home. Therefore, something like 2-1 at [9.6] could be the best play.

Goals favoured behind closed doors

As this is the Bundesliga, of course Over 2.5 goals is the heavy favourite at [1.69]. The Under is [2.4], by comparison.

As for the stats so far this season, Koln's matches are averaging 3.36 goals each time, with 18 of their 25 ending with at least three goals scored.

Mainz have an even higher number, as their fixtures are actually averaging 3.48 goals, with 19 of their 25 seeing Over 2.5 backers collect.

A further point to note is that the reverse fixture in October finished 3-1.

Will the lack of fans in attendance reduce intensity levels and potentially the number of goals? Maybe. It didn't end up that way in Serie A prior to the suspension, but that was only a small sample size.

Either way, [1.69] isn't a price I can get excited about, and I am happy to stick to my Correct Score.

2019/20 P/L (1pt each bet)

Wagered: 48pts
Returned: 36.79pts
P/L: -11.21pts

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Paul Robinson,

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