Bundesliga Preview and Pick: FC Köln vs. Hertha Berlin | BetQL
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Bundesliga Preview and Pick: FC Köln vs. Hertha Berlin

Breakdown and Best Bet for FC Köln-Hertha Berlin

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With just two games left to play in the Bundesliga season, the fight to avoid relegation is fierce. Much could be decided this weekend when Hertha Berlin hosts FC Köln, two teams that are yet to secure safety for next season. At home, Hertha Berlin is a slight favorite with a moneyline of +164 while Köln’s price is set at +186. Finally, a draw is the most lucrative option for bettors with a moneyline of +241.

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Hertha Berlin Preview

On Wednesday, Hertha Berlin took a huge step in the right toward survival with a 2-1 win over Schalke, who has already been relegated. The win moved the Old Lady five points clear of one of the automatic relegation spots and gave them a three-point cushion for the relegation playoffs. A win in either of their two remaining games will be enough to guarantee safety for Hertha Berlin.

The win on Wednesday extended Hertha’s unbeaten streak to seven matches. During those seven matches, Pál Dárdai’s squad has scored 12 goals. While that’s an improvement, they still have just 40 goals in 32 matches. Hertha has lacked one standout talisman this season, although the trio of Krzystof Piatek, Matheus Cunha, and Jhon Cordoba have scored seven goals each. The problem is that the trio has gone cold amidst a busy fixture schedule late in the season. Hertha is also just one game removed from a scoreless draw against Arminia Bielefeld in which 65% of the possession and 11 shots didn’t add up to a goal. That should have Dárdai at least a little concerned about where the goals will come from in the final two matches.

The silver lining is that Hertha’s defensive record has improved late in the season. On the season, they have conceded 50 goals in 32 matches, which is why they find themselves battling relegation in May. However, during the team’s seven-game unbeaten run, they have given up just five goals. Hertha also kept two consecutive clean sheets prior to Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Schalke and has conceded just twice in the last four games. If nothing else, the Hertha defense is trending in the right direction ahead of the two most important games of the season.

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FC Köln Preview

For Köln, it’s now or never if the Billy Goats hope to avoid relegation. After a 4-1 loss to Freiburg last weekend, Köln sits 17th in the Bundesliga in one of the relegation positions. They have 29 points while Werder Bremen and Arminia Bielefeld both have 31 points. The Billy Goats will need to jump over both teams to secure safety and pass at least one of them just to get to the relegation playoff. In other words, Köln is under great pressure to win its final two games, and even then, the Billy Goats might need some outside help to survive.

It’s a minor miracle that Köln is this close to surviving. Before last weekend’s loss to Freiburg, the Billy Goats managed to score back-to-back wins over Augsburg and RB Leipzig in a four-day span. But those are the club’s only two wins since early February. Nevertheless, six goals in their last three games is a step in the right direction for the Billy Goats. Friedhelm Funkel’s team has scored just 33 goals in 32 matches this season, so six in three matches is a big improvement. With three goals in his last four games, midfielder Ondrej Duda could hold the key to Köln  staying in the Bundesliga.

Of course, the 60 goals that Köln has conceded in 32 matches is the second most in the Bundesliga. Confidence is no doubt low after letting Freiburg score four goals on just six shots and 44% possession last weekend. In fairness, two of those goals came in stoppage time when the Billy Goats were pushing for an equalizer. Nevertheless, Köln has allowed 13 goals in the last five games with six of their last eight opponents scoring at least twice against the Billy Goats.

The Pick

While they could be a little tired after playing mid-week, Hertha Berlin should be able to use the momentum and confidence from Wednesday’s win to find three more points on Saturday to secure safety once and for all. Köln’s defensive record in recent matches is too troublesome to have much faith in them, even if they are clearly the more desperate team. Plus, with Hertha looking more organized defensively in recent weeks, they’ll be able to hold onto a lead late in the match.

Pick: Hertha Berlin 2-1

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