Peter Stoger wants Cologne to spring a surprise when they take on leaders Bayern Munich at the RheinEnergieStadion on Saturday, although he realises the reigning Bundesliga champions have few weaknesses.
Cologne were hammered 4-0 at the Allianz Arena earlier this season, with Arjen Robben, Arturo Vidal, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller on target.
Bayern will be brimming with confidence having come from 2-0 down on Wednesday to beat Juventus 4-2 and progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, but Stoger has stressed his squad are in determined mood ahead of this weekend’s encounter.
“The team is really looking forward to the game against Bayern. The players have been talking a lot about Bayern’s strengths and weaknesses and how we can cause them trouble. Everybody is all fired up for Saturday’s game,” Stoger said at a media conference.
“Bayern were impressive against Juventus in the Champions League. It was extraordinary how they managed to turn things around after going 2-0 down. It was one of the best games I have seen in quite a while. Bayern deserve respect for what they did.
“We must somehow try to control Bayern’s individual stars. It will all be about our organisation.
“There are not a whole lot of ways to trouble Bayern. But Bayern always enjoy a lot of possession and play high up the pitch, so trying to hit them on the counterattack could be our chance.”
Cologne’s recent form gives them little reason for optimism, however. They claimed only their second win of 2016 last weekend as they beat Hannover 2-0, having taken one point from their previous four fixtures.
Bayern, meanwhile, thrashed Werder Bremen 5-0 last Saturday and are five points clear at the top of the table. Additionally, Bayern have won their last five league games against Cologne, their longest victorious sequence in the history of this fixture.
Pep Guardiola’s men are unbeaten in nine competitive away games [winning six, drawing three] and have kept six clean sheets in that timeframe.
Key Opta stats:
– Bayern have won all seven of their league games immediately following a Champions League fixture this term, scoring 22 goals and conceding just one in the process.
– Leonardo Bittencourt has scored in his last three league goals and has been directly involved in more than any other Cologne player in 2016 [4 – 3 goals, 1 assist].
– Franck Ribery is on the cusp of his 200th Bundesliga appearance. He has had a hand in 145 goals [69 goals, 76 assists] in his 199 to date.
– Cologne have won two of their last 10 home games, losing four of the last six on their own patch [winning two].
– Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller have scored 43 goals between them this term, 14 Bundesliga sides have scored fewer goals than the Bayern duo.