Bayern Munich will look to move a step closer to retaining the Bundesliga title when they make the trip to mid-table Cologne on Saturday. They head into the match five points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who travel to an out-of-form Augsburg on Sunday. Things are a little tighter at the top than Pep Guardiola's side would have liked at this stage of the season, but they're unlikely to slip up for the third time in their last four league games here.
That's partly thanks to Cologne's rather disappointing record in front of their own fans this season, with coach Peter Stöger having overseen only four league wins in 13 matches at the RheinEnergieStadion. They've also won only twice in the league this side of Christmas, and now look unlikely to achieve anything more than a comfortable mid-table finish. They're sure to raise their game against Bayern, but that's unlikely to be enough to avoid defeat.
Key player: Thiago Alcântara (Bayern Munich)
Having been started from the bench in Bayern's dramatic Champions League victory over Juventus in midweek, we can expect Brazilian midfielder Thiago to make a triumphant return to the starting lineup for this match. He's perhaps one of the most underrated players in the continent at the moment, and one of the very best midfielders. Capable of turning a game in an instant with a decisive pass, Cologne will have to watch him very closely.
Bayern Munich have recorded five straight wins against Cologne, and haven't suffered defeat since a visit to the RheinEnergieStadion in 2011. On that memorable occasion goals from Mario Gómez and Hamit Altıntop sent the visitors into a two-goal lead, only for them to let it slip in a dramatic second half collapse. Cologne will be dreaming of the same again on Saturday, but, suffice to say, the odds are slim.
Cologne injuries and suspensions
Out: Kevin Vogt (thigh). In doubt: None.
Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions
Out: Holger Badstuber (ankle); Jérôme Boateng (groin); Javi Martínez (knee). In doubt: None.
Cologne's only absentee is young midfielder Vogt, who has been ruled out with a thigh injury. They should otherwise have a full-strength team available.
Bayern, meanwhile, will be without a trio of defenders, in Badstuber, Boateng and Martínez.
Match date/time: Saturday, 10:30 a.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. local
Venue: RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany
TV: FOX Soccer Plus (US); Sportsnet World (Canada)
Online: FOX Soccer 2GO, GolTV (US); Sportsnet World Now (Canada)