The Breakdown: Cologne v Arsenal preview

The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Cologne v Arsenal preview

We continue our Europa League campaign with a match against Bundesliga side Cologne at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox analyses our opponents’ strengths, dangermen and areas we can target.


Former Austria international Peter Stoger has been with Cologne for five years, taking the club from the second tier and into fifth position last season - securing European football for the first time in 25 years. This season, however, has been a struggle - Stoger’s side have yet to win in the Bundesliga, taking just two points from 12 matches.


Stoger started the campaign with a 4-2-3-1 but has played more of a 4-4-2 in recent weeks. The two-man strikeforce offers pace and mobility, and Cologne regularly look for the runs of hard-working Jhon Cordoba and Yuya Osako in the channels.


This is a young and very energetic side - only central midfielder Matthias Lehmann and defender Dominic Maroh are in their thirties. 


Leonardo Bittencourt is a cultured, creative midfielder who likes drifting inside from the left flank, and is capable of both creating and scoring. He’s recorded two assists in this season’s Europa League, and tends to win free-kicks in dangerous positions.


Cologne’s defending has often been hugely problematic this season, particularly in terms of set-pieces and crosses. This could be a game for Olivier Giroud.

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