Nice and Koln meet for tonight’s most eye-catching fixture in the first round of group matches for the 2022/23 Europa Conference League (5.45 pm kick-off, UK time).
Introduced to provide a platform for clubs in less illustrious European leagues than the so-called ‘top five’, Nice and Koln probably couldn’t believe their luck when they were drawn into the same group together. The beauty of this competition is that European football has become more accessible to clubs not perennially atop the food chain, with Nice and Koln now meeting each other for the first time since the 1973/74 UEFA Cup last-16.
How to Watch Nice v FC Koln Live online
This game will be available for live streaming on the BT Sport App and BTSport.com.
Live streaming details and upcoming fixtures
Europa Conference League 2022/23 Odds
Where to watch Nice v FC Koln on TV:
UK: BT Sport 5
Nice team news
It’s been an interesting summer of transfer activity for Lucien Favre back in the Nice hot seat. His list of recruits resembles a who’s who of former Premier League stars, arguable has-beens, and unquestionable flops. Aaron Ramsey was arguably the biggest scoop, joining on a free transfer from Juventus following a short loan spell at Europa League runners-up Rangers last season.
Joining him through the midfield door is Ross Barkley. Having terminated his contract with Chelsea, the mercurial midfielder has also moved to the French Riviera on a free transfer, coming in just after deadline day; and at only 28, he will be looking to rediscover his former verve and potentially revitalize a career that has stagnated in recent times.
Veteran shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel was a real coup from Leicester City for only £1m. The Foxes’ early-season struggles are symptomatic of Schmeichel’s departure, as Brendan Rodgers lost a towering presence between the sticks and a huge voice in the dressing room.
Nicolas Pepe has also joined on loan from Arsenal, returning to France following his £72m move from Lille in 2019, and a very difficult spell in north London. If he can salvage at least a fraction of his Lille form, then Favre will have a devastating weapon going forward. Completing the major incomings from the Premier League is another Briton in Joe Bryan, who has moved across from Fulham in one of the weirder transfers of the 2022 summer window, and Mads Sorensen on loan from Brentford.
Gaetan Laborde is perhaps the one that Nice fans will be most excited about. Only three players registered triple digits for shots in Ligue 1 last season: Kylian Mbappe (147), Andy Delort (112), and Laborde (100). Nice now has two of those sharp-shooters, with Delort set to partner Laborde up top.
Marcin Bulka is a former Chelsea academy prospect and comes in as back-up to Schmeichel, while Rares Ilie is an exciting teenage prospect from Rapid Bucharest. Italy U21 international Mattia Viti looks shrewd business from Empoli after a breakthrough season in Serie A, while Parisian midfielder Alexis Beka Beka returns to France after a year playing for Lokomotiv Moscow. Sofiane Diop‘s signature is also a real statement of intent from the Nice board.
FC Koln team news
Steffen Baumgart has a number of injury issues to contend with. Julian Chabot and Mathias Olesen both went off injured against Stuttgart and missed the subsequent Bundesliga match against Wolfsburg. They are both now doubtful here. Benno Schmitz also sustained an ankle injury following that Stuttgart draw and had to sit on the sidelines for the weekend’s emphatic 4-2 win over Wolfsburg. They join Mark Uth on the sidelines, who recently had surgery on a knee issue, as well as Sebastian Andersson, Florian Dietz, and longer-term absentee Dimitrios Limnios.
Scoreline prediction: Nice 2-1 FC Koln