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Category Archives: 1. Fc Cologne

The case against Lukas Podolski

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Ever since the World Cup of 2006 has Lukas Podolski been one of the stalwarts of the success for the Germany national team. However, with young talents en masse on hand Löw might have to consider leaving Prinz Poldi on the bench in the future.

Podolski supporters will be quick to point to the former Köln captains outstanding stats for the German national team. The forward has managed to score 42 goals in his 90 internationals for Germany. He had in fact scored more goals for the German national team than in the Bundesliga when he was playing for Germany in the World Cup in 2010. Read the rest of this entry

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Ståle Solbakken: what can Cologne’s fans expect?

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Ståle Solbakken, many German football fans might have heard the name of FC Copenhagen’s coach, but wouldn’t know what to expect from him. As it turns out, Ståle “Salvatore” Solbakken is amongst the most exciting coaches in Europe right now.

One of the hottest topics of today was FC Köln getting a new coach. As it stands, the honor of coaching the billy goats next season will fall to Norwegian coach Ståle Solbakken. The man who has said that his German is “as good as Trappatoni’s German”(which made him fluent in German according to Hamburg media outlet MoPo) is somebody German football fans have heard a lot about in the last few weeks, but many of them know very little about him. Read the rest of this entry

Bundesliga wrap up for the 19th match day

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Did you miss any of this weekend’s Bundesliga action. Don’t despair, I will from now on give a quick summation of every match day on this blog. So, let’s dive right into it. Read the rest of this entry

Winter madness

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Cologne and Mönchengladbach are trying to get out of the ditch they are in by buying new players. Will the clubs shopping spree make a difference for the second half of this year’s Bundesliga?

This winter has seen few exciting signings so far. Bremen sold Hugo Almeide and replaced him with a young, Swedish striker nobody has heard of, while Bayern managed to snatch Luiz Gustavo from Hoffenheim.

The clubs that have been the most active so far are 1. Fc Cologne av Borussia Mönchengladbach. Both clubs are obviously trying to get out from the bottom of the table, but will their new signings be able to deliver the goods and bring relieve to the fans?

Will the madness ever stop?
As I mentioned before on this blog, the Fc is always creating controversies. It is almost a law of nature that one controversy happens in Cologne every few month. This time around the coach Frank Schaefer managed to piss of his captain Mohamed, by giving the captain’s armband to Lukas Podolski.

Furthermore Cologne decided to buy a total of four new players in this transfer window. It seems to be the action of a team in panic, trying to see what is working. Let’s take a look at the players the team from the Rhine-city of Cologne has decided to buy.

Michael Rensing has a point to proove.

Replacing Faryed Mondragon in the goal is former Bayern goalie Michael Rensing. (Mondragon managed to create a controversy of his own this season when he said he was as badly treated as Jesus.) Rensing is a solid buy. He is a capable shot saver, and has a decent area control. Having left Bayern has certainly left a bitter taste in Rensing’s mouth. Rensing is a keeper who wants to proove a point. If he prooves his point, he might turn out to be one of the best signings of this transfer window.

The next siging is a unknown man for most football fans in Europe: Tomoaki Makino. The Japanees defender is said to be a solid center back, and has impressed new sporting director Volker Finke. Finke knows Makino himself from his time in Japan.

Polish winger Sławomir Peszko is the Fc’s third signing. Having seen Peszko a few times playing for the national team, I must say that he certainly brings the speed and a goalscoring ability that Cologne has been lacking on the wings. However, one cannot be sure that Peszko will adjust to the Bundesliga imediatly.

Last, but not least, Christian Eichner: the defender from Hoffenheim is already a known quantity in the league, and has been a solid player for a number of years.

While Eichner is a solid signing, there is certain risk factor over the other three signings. I am afraid that restructuring the team in mid-season isn’t the best moves. Not selling some of the weaker players besides Mondragon will probably create some tension in the team. Cologne might have shot itself in the leg. As so many times before.

A defender, a kingdom for a defender
Gladbach have certainly had trouble of their own. Raúl Bobadilla seems to have fallen out of favor, and the strain of bad lack concerning injuries has followed the club throughout the season. However, the club is now trying to lift the club from the bottom and into mid-table.

Håvard Nordtveit makes a return to the Bundesliga.

Signing two defenders, while letting one go is a sound investment. Martin Stranzl was a good defender while he played for Stuttgart, I am sure that the Austrian international will make an imediate impact at Gladbach. Håvard Nordtveit has for a long time been regarded to be one of the most talented Norwegian defenders. Arsene Wenger remarked that he has never met a more mature 16 years old when he signed the west-Norwegian. Having had a loan spell at Nürnberg last season, Nordtveit is used to the Bundesliga.

However, the signing of Mike Hanke might not be a wise choice of the management. Hanke is known to be an unpleasent character when he is sitting on the bench. He is certainly talanted, but his form has varried through the years. It will be exciting to see if he makes an impact at Borussia.

However, I am still convinced that Borussia will be playing at the second highest level next season. Having had bad luck all season long. Furthermore, most people would agree, their underlying problem seems to be in midfield. Nothing has been done to strengthen the midfield, and the club’s unwillingness to part ways with Micheal Frontzeck has already caused a huge amount of damage.

Update on the Bundesliga for newcomers segment of this blog: I will not be able to finnish the segment before friday’s match due to me leaving Norway for a few days. However, I will return next week and I am optimistic that the segment will be finnished before the 19th round of Bundesliga action.

Do you think that these winter signings will make an impact? Leave a comment below.


Time honoured tradition

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With Mainz and Hannover at the top of the table, many clubs have stayed behind their expectations. Here is a list over the managers that might have to look for new employment very soon.

Ralf Rangnick decided to take his hat and leave Hoffenheim after the club decided to sell Gustavo.

The coach of the club is the first guy who has got to go when the team isn’t performing. Most people were hit by a shock when the news broke today that Ralf Rangnick would leave Hoffenheim. Rangnick is the fourth coach that has to leave his club in the 10/11 season. Many Bundesliga experts had expected some of the clubs in the league to change their personal, but Rangnick was considered to be save.

Everyday I love you less and less

While the Hoffenheim fans haven’t fallen out of love with Ralf Rangnick, a number of fans are falling out of love with the men who are steering their clubs.

Steven McClaren

The Brit arrived in the Volkswagen city Wolfsburg with the Dutch championship medal in his suitcase. Expectations were high, and the club spent a massive amount of cash to buy players like Diego and Kjær.

Steve McClaren told reporters after the loss against Cottbus that he didn't know if he can keep his job

19 points, 13th in the league and losing the last cup match before the winter break against 2. Bundesliga side Energie Cottbus hasn’t impressed the fans or the executives at Volkswagen. The Brit will likely be fired if things don’t improve at Wolfsburg.

Micheal Frontzeck

10 points, dead last in the league, the Gladbach coach and his side seem to be doomed. Frontzeck has had a patient supporter in sporting director Max Eberl, but the question is: how long will this patience last?

Armin Veh

Being the coach of Hamburg doesn’t come with a lot of job security. Everybody who has followed German football knows that. The HSV has played brilliant football at times, but also been dreadful at times. Being 9th in the table is certainly not good enough for a side that has ambitions to play Champions League football in the future.

Veh has already said that this is his last coaching job in Germany. He might have to pack his coffers very soon.

Frank Schaefer

Cologne have done better after Schaefer replaced Zvonomir Soldo. But, the team is still not living up to the expectations of the population in the cathedral city.

If the new installed combination of sporting director Volker Finke(earlier legendary Freiburg coach) and Schaefer doesn’t work from the get go, Schaefer might be the one who is getting the boot.

Thomas Schaaf

Werder Bremen have never done worse under Thomas Schaaf then in this year’s season. Having had their asses handed to them almost week after week, sacking the coach of the last 11 years has suddenly become an option.

Thomas Schaaf will probably keep his job. The board will probably expect more of the legend next season.

I will find it likely that the board at Bremen will let Schaaf have one bad season, without a title win and a poor position in the league. Schaaf won’t probably get sacked, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did.

Louis van Gaal

Bayern has had a bad first half of the season by their standards. The only way a coach stays in charge of the southerners is titles. If van Gaal hasn’t won the cup or done well in the Champions League he might have to go after the end of the season. So it is to early to predict what will happen with Dutchman.

Are there any coaches that I forgot to mention? Who should take over for the coaches that I have mentioned in this article? Should I stop listening to the Kaiser Chiefs when I write my blogposts? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Another detour through history

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As promised in my previous post, here are my favorite stories and anecdotes about the 1. Fc Cologne and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Cologne

1. Cologne coach Oswald Pfau did generously give his players two days off before the cup-final in 1960. World Cup hero Helmut Rahn took that as a license to go on a massive binge, and turned up drunk at the hotel just minutes before the game started. Cologne’s captain, president and coach couldn’t agree on what to do. So they called the coach of the national side, Sepp Herberger, who told them: So what, he might even score a couple of goals.

But Rahn didn’t. Cologne lost the final 2-3 against the HSV with a drunk Helmut Rahn on the pitch. And while the rest of the team headed to the traditional dinner with mayor of Cologne, Rahn decided to skip the rest of the days program all together. The enraged president Fritz Kremer gave Rahn the boot.

2. The team from west-German are often called the billy goats. Here is the story that goes with that name. After the carnival of 1950 a circus director decided to give the football team one of their billy goats as a gift. When the goat was handed over to the club it decided to empty its massive blather on the legendary FC coach Hennes Weisweiler’s arm.

The goat was therefor named after Weisweiler, and all the subsequent billy goats that have served as mascots have had the name Hennes.

 

Hennes the 7th is named after the legendary coach Hennes Weisweiler. Weisweiler was also successful at Gladbach.

3. The FC decided to buy a new goalkeeper from Brazil in 1965. The billy goats spent 100.000 Deutsche Mark in transfer fees for Miguel Ferreira. The polite young man is remembered for greeting the ladies that worked at the offices of the 1. FC Cologne with hand kisses, and for not playing a single minute of football for the club. He was gifted away to the SC Bonn in the end.

4. Recognizing the difference between twins is often difficult. In 1965 saw the talented footballer Zvezdan Cebinac on a trial at Cologne. The club liked what they saw and decided to offer the player a contract. After the contract was signed Zvezdan stopped showing up for practice, and his untalented brother Srdjan took over for him.

5. Then Cologne coach Uwe Rapolder was annoyed by Youssef Mokhtari’s selfish behavior on the pitch. His solution: make Mokhtari write an essay about altruism.

 

Rapolder didn't manage to win any title with Cologne, but he taught at least one of the team's striker what selflessness is.

Borussia Mönchengladbach

1. The teams nickname the Foals was formed in the 70’s. At the time Gladbach ruled the league with quick and passionate offensive football. The team was mainly put together with young plays, and therefor the name the Foals emerged.

2. This anecdote appeared in the newly published biography about Robert Enke. Enke and the rest of the team were in the dressing room and then-manager Rolf Rüssmann stormed into the room: Has anybody got some moisturizer, I have dry skin, Rüssmann told the players. Stephan Paßlack quickly handed Rüssmann a tube. The manager smeared some of the tube’s content in his face. His face didn’t move for a long time after he was done smearing, Paßlack had in fact handed Rüssmann a tube of hair gel.

3. The following story happened during the cup-final in 1973. Günther Netzer had been placed on the bench by coach Hennes Weisweiler, and when the game didn’t seem to go Gladbach’s way Netzer took matters into his own hands. “I am playing now”, Netzer remarked dryly to his coach. After he had substituted himself on the pitch in the 91 minute Netzer actually scored the winning goal in overtime.


Goal of the century?: Netzer’s goal is shown on this YouTube clip after 2 minutes.

4. Young and promising Wolfram Wuttke came to the club in 1981. The attacker quickly managed to secure himself a place in Jupp Heynckes starting eleven. While everything seemed fine on the outside, the collaboration between Heynckes and Wuttke was difficult at times.

After Heynckes went on a rampage, Wuttke pointed out the fact that his face turned quickly red when Heynckes was angry. The attacker decided to add insult to injury and gave Heynckes the nickname Osram(after a German light bulb producer). Wuttke got away with a fine, but to this day Heynckes is still called Osram.

5. This story involves both clubs. Gladbach and Cologne were equal on points before the last match of the season in 78, but Cologne looked like the sure winners of the league because of their goal difference. Gladbach had to catch up ten goals.

The team managed to go 6-0 up against to Borussia Dortmund before the half time break. The news of Gladbach’s surge reached the fans that had gathered to see St. Pauli playing against Cologne. Gladbach continued their rampage of Dortmund after the break, and went on to win 12-0. Cologne on its side was cheered on by St. Pauli’s supporters and managed to win 5-0. If Cologne hadn’t scored three goals after the break, the championship title of 78 would have ended up in the hands of Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Any anecdotes missing? Any other anecdotes from the world of football you would like share? Don’t hesitate, leave a comment below.

The pitiful, helpless giants of the league

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When the 1.Fc Cologne and Borussia Mönchengladbach walk on the pitch for the 18th round of Bundesliga action both are in dire straits, looking straight at relegation. How could two giants of the league fade into the cruel fight against relegation?

When young Germans are asked what they think about Cologne and Gladbach their response might be that they are two teams not good enough for the Bundesliga, but that are too good for the 2. Bundesliga. Recent history is on their side. Cologne has spent four of the last ten seasons in the 2. Bundesliga, and Gladbach had to participate in the 2nd highest division for three seasons. Germany’s older generation on the other hand has a lot of respect for these two sides.

A brief detour through history
The idea of starting a national league, the Bundesliga, was actually the idea of the legendary FC president Franz Kremer and came to fruition in 1963. Under his, at times, authoritarian leadership did the club from the cathedral city win the championships in 62 and 64. The club structure that existed at Cologne was miles ahead of the competitors, and while many teams still were put together with amateurs, were almost all FC players professionals.  Cologne’s stars of the 60’s were Helmut Rahn, Karl-Heinz Schnellinger and Wolfgang Overath.

After Kremer’s death in 1967 the FC continued to produce impressive results. Amongst them are the win of the Bundesliga in 78, reaching the UEFA-cup final in 86, and winning the DFB-cup four times.

The 90’s started well, the team came in second in the league, but they ended in tears for the fans of the red and whites. The team was relegated for the first time in its history in 98.

 

Berti Vogts chasing another player.

The story of Borussia Mönchengladbach reads similar. After Cologne’s domination in the league, the team from west-Germany took over the reins. Winning the German league a total of five times during the 70’s and the UEFA-cup twice the future seemed to be bright for the Foals.  Star players of the 70’s side included Berti Vogts, Günther Netzer and Jupp Heynckes.

But financial troubles forced the team to sell off many of their best players in the 80’s, and the glory days were over. After the golden decade of the 70’s the team managed to win one title, the DFB-cup in 95. The biggest blow in the club’s history came, when the team was relegated in 99.

Why are they struggling?
Football has evolved a great deal since the glory days of Gladbach and certainly the glory days of Cologne. Besides new rules, higher wages for players, bigger stadiums and the media frenzy around the game of football, the management style of football teams has also underwent a big change.

Gladbach and Cologne are the two last clubs in the league where the daily business is ran by the president and his two vice-presidents. None of these presidents are paid a penny, and all of them have to earn their money elsewhere. An executive of a German insurance company remarked about these conditions: “These clubs are ran like the local rabbit breeding association.”

It is easy to attribute the clubs recent poor decisions to the out-of-date structure at the clubs. For instance, hiring Micheal Meier in Cologne’s case wasn’t a good move. Meier came with a bad reputation from his days at Dortmund, and has now left his second club in the Bundesliga with a huge amount of debt to pay off. Gladbach would probably fared better with another sporting director then Max Eberl, according to many of their fans. The club spent a lot of money before this season, and are bottom of the league. Having said that, Gladbach has been the club that has had the highest amount of injuries in the league.

What are the solutions?
In Borussia’s case have the fans attributed the club’s poor performances in recent years to the out of date management style of the club. The newly founded Initiative Borussia has combined fans, and local big-business players, and they demand change. Away with the old time-structures, ending the reins of volunteer-ism at the club. The club members will vote on these demands in may. If the fans agenda is implemented stands to be seen. Both Borussia and Cologne have in the meantime only one objective: Avoid relegation.

 

Cologne's president Wolfgang Overath is struggeling to keep the FC in the Bundesliga.


In the next blogpost I will go down nostalgia lane and highlight some of the most memorable anecdotes these two great clubs have produced.Will Gladbach or Cologne manage to turn the corner? Or will their fans always have nothing else, but memories from the glory days to contend with? Leave a comment below.