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3rd place vs 16th place: 1. FC Cologne faces an unequal duel in the basement

3rd place vs 16th place: 1. FC Cologne faces an unequal duel in the basement

Luca Waldschmidt in the first leg against Mainz. (Photo: Poco)

For a long time, 1. FC Köln and FSV Mainz 05 were in a close race for the relegation place. On Sunday there will be a direct duel between two teams currently far apart in the table.

“If we play like this, we will get four things in Mainz.” Mark Uth's words after the disappointing 0-2 loss to Darmstadt did nothing to reveal just how poor FC Köln's performance was last weekend. No doubt the return's statement also contained a portion of respect for the next opponent.

This is justified. If you look at the overall standings, Mainz, in 15th place, will host the penultimate team from Cologne on Sunday evening – it can't be more of a basement duel. But in the model table the situation is much clearer.

Uth: “We have to win there”

FSV have taken 11 points out of a possible 15 from their last five matches and are only bettered by RB Leipzig and defending champions Bayer Leverkusen on 13 points each. On the other hand, FC is one of the weakest teams in the league with only four points from five matches, right on par with Werder Bremen and ahead of VfL Bochum (two points).

With a 1-1 draw with Freiburg on Sunday evening, Mainz jumped out of the relegation zone for the first time since the second round of play – a reward for their recovery under new coach Bo Henriksen. “We continued to put pressure on the teams in front of us and behind us,” sporting director Martin Schmidt said afterwards. The next final match against Cologne on Sunday will be a decisive match.”

Oth sees it the same way. “We only have one chance and we have to win there,” the veteran gave guidance to Mainz immediately after the final whistle in Darmstadt, knowing, given the strength of the opponent: “We have to pull ourselves together now and gather all our strength.” Courage. “Otherwise there are actually four things that threaten – and you are eight points behind.