The battle at the bottom of Bundesliga

F.C Koln appear to be doomed at the foot of the Bundesliga table with a measly three points. A 2-2 draw with third placed Schalke on Saturday was a very good result in itself, but Stefan Ruthenbeck’s side are requiring much more if they are to avoid the drop.

Indeed, having finished fifth at the end of the 2016-17 season, F.C Koln remain winless after fourteen games of the current campaign. What’s more, they are eight points behind Werder Bremen in 17th place, and nine behind SC Freiburg in 16th. A goal difference of minus 21 encapsulates how bad they have been.

Koln have fared better in the Europa League given that they actually managed to register two victories, the latest coming against an Arsenal side that topped the group regardless of the result. Despite this win, Koln still narrowly finished third in the European competition, and have shipped in five goals in their last two home Bundesliga matches without a single goal in reply.

While Koln looked doomed as it stands, firmly sat at the bottom of the league, 17th to 14th place is pretty tight with just four points separating Werder Bremen from Mainz 05. Bremen secured their second win in three games with a vital 1-0 home win over Stuttgart on Saturday courtesy of Max Kruse’s winner just before the interval.

Back-to-back home wins in the league should give Bremen confidence to build a platform as they seek to climb the table having followed up their 4-0 hammering over Hannover 96 a couple of weeks ago with the win over Stuttgart in front of their own supporters.

In Max Kruse, Bremen have an in-form forward who is starting to hit the net frequently. Kruse scored an impressive hat-trick in the 4-0 thumping over Hannover as the Green-Whites recorded their first win of the Bundesliga campaign. Kruse then scored against Stuttgart as new coach, Florian Kohfeldt, attempts to rejuvenate the side that have won four Bundesliga titles in their club history.

One point above Bremen in 16th are Freiburg who are also embroiled in a relegation dogfight. Having drawn 0-0 at home to Hamburg on Friday night, Freiburg remain one point clear of Bremen but are still two points behind Hamburg in 15th. Friday evening’s game was a huge chance for Freiburg to leapfrog a side amongst them in the table, but a tense, cagey stalemate ensured that both sides keep their heads just above water.

The main positive for Hamburg from the goalless draw was that they kept a clean-sheet for the first game on the road this season. Having picked up three points against Cologne during their first away game this campaign, Hamburg have failed to win on their travels since. Matches at the Volksparkstadion have proven more fruitful for Hamburg in recent weeks, recording an emphatic 3-0 win over Hoffenheim last week.

Sitting in 14th place, Mainz 05 lost 3-1 at home to seventh-placed Augsburg on Saturday, meaning that they are amongst those battling for survival. Two consecutive defeats for Mainz leaves them with a poor recent record of just two wins in five games, although this is two more wins than Borussia Dortmund in their last five.

Dortmund continue to struggle at the opposite end of the table, and will be glad they already have enough points on board because their form is as bad as any of those fighting for survival at the bottom.