Cologne’s head coach Friedhelm Funkel, right, comforts Cologne’s Jonas Hector after the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayer Leverkusen and 1.FC Cologne in Leverkusen, Germany, Saturday, April 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
- It is Cologne vs Holstein Kiel in the first leg of the Bundesliga Relegation Playoff on Wednesday, May 26 at 12:30 pm EST
- Cologne survived on the final day of the season but still have to overcome 2.Bundesliga’s Holstein Kiel
- We preview the game, look at the odds, and offer a best bet below
Cologne vs Holstein Kiel meets in the first leg of the two-legged Bundesliga Relegation Playoff on Wednesday, May 26, kick-off at 12:30 pm EST. Cologne only avoided relegation from the top division with a dramatic 1-0 win over Schalke at the weekend, while Holstein missed out on automatic promotion from 2.Bundesliga.
We list the odds, preview Cologne vs Holstein Kiel, and offer below the best bet for this playoff first-leg tie below.
Cologne vs Holstein Kiel Odds
|Cologne vs Holstein Kiel||COL -1 (+125) | HOL -1 (-152)||COL -150| DRAW +270 | HOL +410||Ov 2.5 (+285) | Un 2.5 (-335)|
Odds as of May 25 at DraftKings
Nerve-Racking Night Ahead in Cologne
It will be a nerve-racking night in the RheinEnergie Stadion as Cologne entertain Holstein Kiel in the first-leg fixture of this Bundesliga Relegation Playoff. For the hosts, this is a lifeline after they so nearly went down automatically, only for them to survive on the final day of the domestic season with a dramatic late win over Schalke.
Die Geißböcke looked to be heading out of the Bundesliga and had toiled unsuccessfully all afternoon against already-relegated Schalke, but an 86th-minute winner from Sebastiaan Bornauw sent down Werder Bremen and gave them a second chance at survival that had previously looked unlikely.
Pure emotion. Thank you, @SebBornauw33! ❤
Now let’s take the chance we’ve been given to stay up 💪 #effzeh pic.twitter.com/zSRZDnXFBI
— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) May 25, 2021
Two Costly Defeats for Holstein
While the drama was unfolding in Cologne, Holstein was losing 3-2 at home to Darmstadt in a game they needed to win to secure automatic promotion. It was the second week running that Die Störche had lost 3-2; a disastrous end to the campaign given that a win in either of those games would have been enough to secure a place in the Bundesliga.
If they had secured those three extra points, it would have earned the visitors’ first-ever appearance in the German top flight, and this is, in fact, only their second appearance in the playoffs. Their only other appearance came in 2018 when they lost 4-1 on aggregate to Wolfsburg, but now they have another shot at the big prize.
Abpfiff. Der Akku hat einfach nicht mehr gereicht. Die Störche müssen in die Relegation gegen den 1. FC Köln. #KSVSVD 2:3#Holstein #Kiel pic.twitter.com/EEy4tgRKNM
— Holstein Kiel (@Holstein_Kiel) May 23, 2021
These two teams have spent most of their respective histories in different divisions and have only played each other twice before – in 2.Bundesliga in 2018-19. In that campaign, the game in Cologne ended in an emphatic 4-0 win for the home team, while the game in Kiel ended in a 1-1 draw.
Cologne vs Holstein Kiel Head-to-Head Stats
|34||Bundesliga / 2.Bundesliga games played||34|
Andersson Misses Out for Die Geißböcke
In terms of team news, Cologne looks likely to be without Swedish international striker Sebastian Andersson for the first leg as he is still nursing a knee injury, but there is a chance he may be fit enough to make Saturday’s second leg. Kosovan midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj is also a doubt for the game after he picked up a knock in the 0-0 draw with Hertha Berlin ten days ago.
The visitors have even more problems, with Ahmet Arslan, Mikkel Kirkeskov, and Stefan Thesker all unavailable through injury, while Alexander Mühling and Jonas Meffert are both suspended for the first leg after collecting their fifth yellow cards of the season at the weekend.
Pure emotion. pic.twitter.com/ksWypgoUPd
— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) May 22, 2021
2021 UEFA Champions League Odds Tracker
It has been a difficult campaign for Cologne but they will be buzzing after earning themselves a second chance at survival after Bornauw’s heroics at the weekend. And in terms of momentum, they have considerably more than Kiel, whose season ended in disappointment with those two heartbreaking 3-2 defeats.
Abpfiff. Nächste Woche gibt es den nächsten Matchball. #KSCKSV 3:2#2Liga #KielAhoi #Holstein #Kiel pic.twitter.com/sf7GD0NKUs
— Holstein Kiel (@Holstein_Kiel) May 16, 2021
Cologne vs Holstein Kiel Best Bets
Much will depend on whether the visitors’ players can clear their heads after those two final games, but very much in their favor is a rare chance to create history for their club. Also worth noting though is that since the relegation/promotion playoffs have been part of the end-of-season fixtures in Germany in 2008-09, top-flight teams have survived nine times while the 2.Bundesliga sides have only triumphed over two legs on three occasions.
What Kiel will be looking to do more than anything is to stay in the tie ahead of the second-leg on their home soil and, on that basis, they may even regard a single-goal defeat as an acceptable outcome. For Cologne, they will be looking to build on the weekend’s win and carry that positive mood into this playoff. Therefore, I can see a narrow win for Cologne; one that will leave Kiel still in with a chance of promotion.
Pick: Cologne to win (-150)
Once just a sports fanatic, fan-turned-writer Gary Gowers has been featured on European television and radio networks to discuss several professional football clubs. His work can be found in an assortment of publications like The Metro, MyFootballWriter.com, and BBC Radio Norfolk.