Mith gloomy words described the finance director of the 1. FC Cologne the situation of his employer at the general meeting on Tuesday evening. The FC is "a financial restructuring case," said Philipp Türoff, repeating a term that sporting director Christian Keller had made headlines with when he took office in the spring.
Actually, the Rhenish mind is known for looking at its own situation through a veil of optimism, so this bone-dry honesty is amazing. Because the image of the "restructuring case" says more than the 15 million euro loss in the 2021/2022 financial year, which causes the debt to rise to 66 million. Almost every Bundesliga club complains of losses and debts in Corona times. However, the FC presents itself as a rocked-down company that needs to be rescued. This self-portrayal is unusual and quite clever.
Those responsible for this fickle traditional club have decided to face the future honestly and fearlessly. In the summer, Salih Özcan and Anthony Modest sold, the two best players of the previous year. For the same reasons, they didn't even think about compensating for the loss with well-known substitutes. Like a drug addict in cold turkey, 1. FC Köln are forcing themselves to put their toxic past behind them. You have to have this courage first, because the danger of falling remains.
Far too often, coaches and managers in professional football first think about how they will survive the next season and possibly the season after that, because they will probably be somewhere else afterwards anyway. In Cologne, the future is being tinkered with with a willingness to take risks that is rare in the industry, and none of those involved knows whether they will still experience it as a Cologne resident. The entire sports management depends on the coach Stephen Baumgart Little-known and often completely inexperienced players at a higher level turns into really good Bundesliga professionals so that the team can keep up. This actually seems to work. The Cologne team have only lost one of seven Bundesliga games and are still unbeaten in the European Cup.
Sticking to the principles
How far Baumgart goes with his straightforward way of working was shown in the play-off second leg to qualify for the group stage of the Europa Conference League at Hungarian participants FC Fehervar. In this extremely important game, in which, among other things, it was about being able to earn between seven and nine million euros in the further course of the season, the coach initially left his internationally experienced and almost irreplaceable captain Jonas Hector on the bench. Because of the load control.
This radical adherence to principles is being felt at many levels of the club at the moment and is an interesting experiment that members welcome. At previous meetings there were regular arguments, sometimes fists flew, this time it was quiet. The executive committee of the restructuring case was re-elected with 92 percent approval, which is primarily due to the good sporting situation. But beyond what's happening on the pitch, arises in Cologne precisely the feeling that there are people at work here who not only wrestle helplessly with the forces of a tumbling giant, but also know very well what they are doing.