Koln v Ingolstadt – RheinEnergieStadion at 19:30 live on BT Sport Europe

It’s been an emotional week for Koln. The Billy Goats earned their first home Rhine-Derby victory over bitter rivals Gladbach in 10 years before a tough midweek trip to the capital to face Hertha on Tuesday night.

But Peter Stöger’s charges are back at the Rhein-Energie Stadion on Friday evening for a Bundesliga battle against newly-promoted Ingolstadt with the hosts keen to build on last season’s 12th-placed finish. Koln’s return to the German top-flight last term was built upon an organised and resolute defence and that’s a blueprint being emulated by the visitors.

FCI coach Ralph Hasenhuttl has taken Die Schanzen from the bottom of the second division to the top flight, and he has done it by instilling discipline and determination in his players. Everyone knows the system, and everyone sticks to the system. Four clean sheets in their first five matches says it all, and Ingolstadt have every reason to believe they can avoid the drop in their debut Bundesliga season.

During their victorious 2.Bundesliga campaign, Die Schanzen were beaten just four times as they conceded fewer than one goal-per-game. They were held to draws in eight of their 17 road fixtures with those matches averaging just 2.00 goals-per-game, so it’s difficult to see a high-scoring encounter with two cautious teams who prefer the counter-attack on show.

Koln’s games were the lowest scoring in the league last season and 41% had fewer than two goals, as nine of their matches finished 0-0 and 62% were level at half-time. That includes five of their 17 Rhein-Energie Stadion matches ending 0-0 and seven banking in the Draw/Draw double result as they settled for a point in all but one of their eight half-time draws at home.

No team scored more than twice in Koln and the only one of their four defeats came by more than the odd goal – of course, that was Bayern Munich. Centre-back Kevin Wimmer and forward Anthony Ujah may have departed in the summer but Stöger’s men snapped up Anthony Modeste and Simon Zoller while Leonardo Bittencourt and Milos Jolic added further thrust to an uninspiring midfield.

So with only 7/20 (35%) of the Billy Goats’ Bundesliga matches on home soil breaking the Over 2.5 Goals barrier, it’s difficult to envisage anything other than a low-scoring duel, especially when you inspect Ingolstadt’s similar safety-first style. With that in mind, we must oppose a goal-heavy game and back Under 2.5 Goals at a healthy 1.80 on Friday night.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 2.5 goals at 1.80

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @MarkOHaire.

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