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Before we go into the first international break of the season, the Boys in Brown play host to FC Köln. As usual, we've taken a closer look at the current league leaders (along with Union Berlin), who were relegated from the top flight last season.

St. Pauli old boys

The Köln squad contains not one but three former St. Pauli players. Lasse Sobiech (134 appearances for FCSP) made the move to Cologne just a few months ago, while Thomas Kessler (26 appearances) and Matthias Lehmann (69 appearances) have been with the Billy Goats since the 2012/13 season. Sobiech is the only one of the three to feature so far this season. The centre-back was given a 17-minute run-out at Bochum on the opening day before playing from start to finish against Union Berlin a week later.

Kiel old boys

Köln also have three former Kiel employees on their books. Head coach Markus Anfang, a native of Cologne, and central defender Rafael Czichos arrived by the direct route from Holstein Kiel in the close season, while attacking midfielder Dominick Drexler took a diversion via Danish champions FC Midtjylland before dropping anchor on the Rhine in mid-July.

Target-man Terodde

No question about it, Simon Terodde is on a roll. Last time out, the striker contributed all three goals in the 3-1 home win over Erzgebirge Aue, having scored four in the 9-1 DFB Cup defeat of Dynamo Berlin a week earlier. Terodde has demonstrated his qualities as a marksman in impressive fashion at this level, where he has registered 92 times in 189 second-division appearances. The 30-year-old topped the Bundesliga 2 scoring chart with 25 goals in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 – for VfL Bochum in 2016 and for VfB Stuttgart in 2017. Should Terodde again end the season as the most prolific striker, he would become the first player to be crowned leading goalscorer for three different clubs.

Cooperative Clemens

Like Terodde, Christian Clemens has made a fantastic start to the campaign. The 27-year-old winger leads the combined goals and assists chart for the division (one goal, three assists). No other player has made three goals so far. With that, Clemens has already improved on his record of last season, when he scored just two goals and provided one assist in 20 appearances.

Strong start

The Billy Goats have made an outstanding start to the season and top the table with seven points from their first three games. In fact, they have never started better. In the 1999/2000 and 2002/03 seasons, Cologne also kicked off with seven points from the opening three games before going on to secure promotion to the Bundesliga. Passing has been a particular strength of Markus Anfang's side so far – a pass completion rate of 88 per cent and an average of 521 passes per game are league-best stats.

Inauspicious record

No question again, FC Köln are not exactly our favourite opposition. The two clubs have met 29 times since 1975, and our record of just four wins, six draws and 19 defeats is nothing to write home about, to put it mildly. In the second division, the Boys in Brown have yet to record win over the Cologne outfit, who have won five times at the Millerntor and drawn once in six outings.


Photos: Eibner