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22.10.2021Bundesliga

Seoane ahead of Derby in Cologne: Lots of challenges, high-intensity

Back in Germany, the Werkself face the derby in the cathedral city: Bayer 04 are away to FC Köln on Sunday, 24 October (kick-off: 1530 CEST). Head coach Gerardo Seoane spoke at the pre-match press conference held at the media centre at the BayArena about his approach to this match as well as the special atmosphere that awaits Lucas Hradecky and Co. on the other side of the Rhine.

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Three matches in seven days. After the 5-1 home defeat against FC Bayern and the successful test of strength at Real Betis (1-1), the Black and Reds return to Bundesliga action at FC Köln. "I'm expecting a game full of challenges and high intensity," declared Gerardo Seoane at the pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon who is only missing the injured trio of Julian Baumgartlinger, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Charles Aránguiz.

The last two matches against FC Bayern and the Spanish club from Andalusia have left their marks. But the Swiss boss is satisfied after yesterday's Europa League away game at the Estadio Benito Villamarin: "We wanted to be compact and that's what we did. It was an attractive and entertaining game for the spectators with highs and lows on both sides."

"control of emotions particularly important"

The Werkself, who returned from southern Spain in the early hours of Friday, now face the derby – and in circumstances that have not existed for a long time in this fixture between the two clubs: For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the clash between these two rivals from the Rhine will take place with supporters in the stands. The FC Köln ground of the RheinenergieSTADION will be sold out with 50,000 fans at the match.

Also due to this atmosphere, Seoane says "Control of emotions is an important subject. Bundesliga matches are always intensive – but there's more emotion with derby games." Therefore the object is, "to keep calm and stand firm."

"he knows its a special game"

A former Köln player will be in the Werkself team in the shape of youngster Florian Wirtz. The 18-year-old playmaker has already played two derbies with the Bayer Cross on his shirt (4-0, 3-1) albeit without a win in front of fans due to the pandemic. "Flo knows it will be a special match for the fans. He will prepare accordingly," said Seoane. "Emotions are part of this business. The fans can express their feelings. We can deal with that."

On the opponents, who currently lie seventh in the Bundesliga, the Bayer 04 head coach said: "Köln are powerful and brave and they are very good at pressing. Their aggressive approach to the game could help us. We have to get out of those situations and then benefit from our pace." With that in mind, the fourth derby win in succession should be on the cards.

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