Two teams level on points in Group H will battle it out for second spot on Thursday in the Europa League as Red Star Belgrade host Cologne in Serbia to see who will move on.
Crvena Zvezda Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia 07 Dec 2017 6:00 pm (GMT)
Key Stat: Red Star haven't scored a goal in the Europa League since the last time they played Cologne.
Expert Verdict: With a win in this match, Cologne would become the very first club to ever lose their first three matches and then clinch qualification to the knockout rounds of the Europa League. That special achievement is not going to come easy, but football is so much about emotion and this is all they have going for them at the moment and it's being willed on by their wonderful fans.
Vladan Milojevic looks set to have a full team to pick from for this decisive group stage match.
As far as the Europa League goes, Red Star have relied upon striker Richmond Boakye for the lion's share of their goals. The Ghana striker is required to split time in the league, but he has forged a nice European record with eight goals in the competition so far and looks to be the man that will spearhead them in this match in Serbia.
Red Star have two draws and three wins in their last five matches:
2-2 draw at Backa Palanka
5-0 home win vs Radnik Surdulica
1-2 win at Cukaricki
0-0 draw at BATE (UEL)
6-1 home win vs Rad Beograd
Defenders:Stojkovic, Le Tallec, Savic, Rodic
Defensive Midfielders:Krsticic, Donald
Attacking Midfielders:Milic, Kanga, Srnic
Peter Stoger is fighting injury worries at an alarming clip at the moment. Left back Jonas Hector, center backs Dominic Maroh, Joao Queiros, Jorge Mere, and Dominique Heintz, center midfielder Marco Hoger, wingers Marcel Risse and Leonardo Bittencourt, and strikers Simon Zoller and Jhon Cordoba are all set to miss out.
Winger Sehrou Guirassy has been the leading figure for Cologne this season when things have gone well. The Frenchman has scored twice in the Europa League, one being the winner over Arsenal, and he had two goals at the weekend in a nice draw in Gelsenkirchen. He is the man in form for them, and he could just be the one that sets them on course for the knockout rounds.
Cologne have a draw, three losses, and a win in their last five matches:
2-2 draw at Schalke
0-2 home loss vs Hertha Berlin
1-0 home win vs Arsenal (UEL)
1-0 loss at Mainz
0-3 home loss vs Hoffenheim
Defenders:Sorenson, Bisseck, Lehmann
Midfielders:Klunter, Jojic, Ozca, Jannes Horn
Forwards:Nartey, Guirassy, Osako
Red Star and Cologne met for the first time back in September when the Serbian side came out on top 0-1 in Germany. Their goal came via Richmond Boakye in the 30th minute and it held up to be the winner.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Red Star Belgrade are at 5/4 to win, a draw is at 11/5, and a Cologne win is at 9/4.
Ahead of this match, both teams know they will have a simple task. The easiest way to progress for either side is to get a victory. No matter what happens in the other match, the side that wins here would be through in second place along with Arsenal.
The side that has the best chance of moving on is going to be Red Star. The Serbians have a double chance of sorts if they draw here. With a draw in this match, as well as either a draw or a loss for BATE in London, Red Star would move on. Cologne's task is simple. They must win in Serbia to move on.
Red Star came through four ties total in order just to make the group. They won all four of those home matches, but they have just one point at home so far in this group. Overall, they have 14 wins, two draws, and a loss at home so far. As for Cologne, they have zero points on their travels as of yet in the group. Overall, they have two wins, two draws, and eight losses outside of Cologne.
Cologne will have a bit of a fitness edge due to having had more rest of late. Red Star had a midweek cup match last week, so that could suit Koln.
A no for both teams to score is set at 10/11 on Ladbrokes.
As unlikely and nonsensical as it may be, the heart continues to loudly speak Cologne to win here. The Germans have stuck to their guns and have continued to battle away and a third straight win would take them into the knockout rounds. We think they'll be in that draw.