It’s not easy to be a fan of 1. FC Cologne in these times. I can still remember times when my team swept away the Bayern 4:0. Now it goes on Sunday against the SC Paderborn in the 2nd league.
For those who still see the Cologne team at eye level with Dortmund, Gladbach, Schalke or Bayern – in other words for all FC fans – there is a nice film that makes you forget the pain, at least temporarily: “Das Double” takes place in the great time of the club, which began in the early 60s and ended at the end of the 70s. The film, which is now also available as a DVD, is about the year 1978, when Cologne not only won the trophy, but also dramatically became champion.
In one of the most beautiful scenes you can see FC coach Hennes Weisweiler standing in the Hamburg Volksparkstadion on the last matchday, surrounded by reporters. Weisweiler knows that FC can no longer take away their championship trophy, even though Gladbacher, with the same number of points, are leading 12-0 against Dortmund. “Hennes Weisweiler, four minutes to go. Do you now believe in the German championship?” asks a reporter. “Still not,” Weisweiler replied with a smile reflecting the triumph and satisfaction of a man for whom everything was at stake this season.
“Give me two years”
Weisweiler is one of the central figures of the film. He came to Cologne in 1976, after his glorious time in Gladbach and a short interlude with FC Barcelona. On his first day in Cologne he said: “Give me two years to become a champion”. He should be judged by this statement.
Director Frank Steffan draws an ambivalent picture of the man whom the people of Cologne so revered that they gave his first name to their mascot, the billy goat. Weisweiler was one of the greatest coaches of his time, he invented Gladbach counterfootball and led the club to the top of Europe. At the same time he was an unapproachable person who could be hard and unfair and who always sought the responsibility for defeats from others.
Even though Weisweiler takes up a lot of space, the film is about the club. Steffan lets former players, board members and fans have their say. There are many discoveries, such as the then team doctor Alfons Bonnekoh, a lovely 86 year old, who tells us that Weisweiler didn’t talk to him anymore because he recommended “autogenetic training” to the team behind the coach’s back.
But the focus is on the game. The opponents of the FC were MSV Duisburg, 1. FC Kaiserslautern or 1860 Munich, traditional clubs, which later could not even hold themselves in the 2nd league and which have a different sound for me nevertheless than Hoffenheim or Wolfsburg. A top team at that time was Eintracht Braunschweig, who defeated Cologne 1:0 in the second half. Scorer was a certain Paul Breitner.
The film is not only interesting for FC fans. It’s fascinating to see how the game has changed. It’s remarkable how much space the players had back then, how late they were attacked, how cumbersome some moves look – and how tight their pants were. In my memory, football was as important and popular back then as it is today, but that’s not true. During the championship season, the Müngersdorfer Stadium was only sold out twice, with an average of 35,000 spectators. In the 2013/14 second league season, FC had an average of 46,000 spectators.
Even then there were artists on the ball, Heinz Flohe for example, one of the best German midfielders, to whom Steffan dedicated his own touching film portrait. The names of the great players of that time are still familiar to FC fans today: Toni Schumacher, Dieter Müller, Herbert Neumann, Gerd Strack, Roland Gerber. Müller still holds the Bundesliga record with six goals in one game – 7-2 against Werder Bremen. But the real star of the film is Harald Konopka, an ironhard right-back who tells with wit and self-irony (“I still admire how I put the ball in there today.”) about that time.
Steffan devotes a lot of space to the showdown on the last matchday. No Cologne native, no Gladbacher will forget the day, even if the memories are clearly different. The starting position at that time: Cologne was equal on points ahead of Gladbach, but had the much better goal difference. The Gladbachers had to score ten goals to pass Cologne. An impossible task, one thought. Gladbach played in Düsseldorf against the Tabellenelften Dortmund, Cologne in the Volksparkstadion against the already relegated FC St. Pauli. The Cologne manager Karl-Heinz Thielen had bought 12,000 tickets from St. Pauli so that the Hamburgers would not play the game at their home millerntor, but in the Volksparkstadion of the Hamburger SV. Setantabet has a great list of popular slots.
Cologne had a hard time at the beginning, but Gladbach started furiously. At halftime it was 6:0, at the end 12:0, until today the highest Bundesliga victory. Borussia fans still rave about the game, others believe in a shift. Since then, I have had a deep dislike for Dortmund coach Otto Rehhagel, who is said to have said: “I prefer a champion Gladbach to a champion Cologne. Hardcore FC fan Jacki Nimmsgern remembers the mood in the Cologne block: “If that’s not possible, we’ll get out on the way back in Dortmund.
It did not go into the pants. The FC won confidently with 5:0, Rehhagel was fired the next day, the Cologneers celebrated in their city. Later they made it, which the film doesn’t show anymore, to the semifinals of the European Cup of Champions. That’s how good the team was back then.
It will be a while before the 1st FC Cologne plays again against Real Madrid or FC Liverpool. For the time being, fans would be happy if their opponents were soon Hoffenheim or Wolfsburg again. Who wants to dream in the meantime, “The Double” is recommended to him.
Christian Heidel was relieved when he made his way home on Saturday evening after the next chapter of a dangerous series of defeats. With 1:2 at Borussia Mönchengladbach, the Schalkers had also lost the third Bundesliga game of this season, whereupon the sports board had to express all sorts of gloomy thoughts about the future.
But most of his sets were full of optimism. “We rarely had so many chances away,” said Heidel, explaining that he was a “positive type” who, in such crisis situations, thinks less about imminent dangers than about opportunities that could “arise from them”. Above all, however, he paid homage to the fans who didn’t whistle, who didn’t demand coach dismissals and didn’t insult any players. The Schalker curve sang in the preview of the coming Bundesliga opponent: “Take off the Lederhosen from Bavaria!
That found Heidel “absolutely outstanding”, at least that part of the appendix, which was also in Mönchengladbach, is “very sensitive” with the fact that this season beginning more and more becomes a disaster. “They have a great understanding that not everything that was right before can be wrong all of a sudden. So the crisis virus has not yet spread to the emotional centre of the club, and to further strengthen the immune system, the Schalkers emphasised the positive aspects of this football evening with admirable consistency.
The team were “on the right track”, said coach Domenico Tedesco, who saw the main reason for the defeat as Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer “had a great day”, while Heidel explained that three defeats had happened before, but were particularly “unattractive” at the start of the season.
This argumentation is understandable, and the Schalkers also added a carefully dosed portion of self-criticism to their explanations in order to remain credible. The Gladbachers’ victory was “deserved”, said Heidel, but only because the Borussia had “efficiency there”, while the Champions League participant from the district wasted a whole series of the best possibilities for equalising after Matthias Ginter’s early goal. In reality, however, the strong Gladbachers were superior to FC Schalke on all levels except a quarter of an hour before half time and 20 minutes after the break.
The Schalker focus on the small, enjoyable things is a well thought-out strategy. The old self-cutting mechanisms, which traditionally affect the club in difficult sporting phases, are to be avoided with all their might. Before Heidel came to Gelsenkirchen, the powerful Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Clemens Tönnies, would have taken the floor at such a time via the “Bild” newspaper, expressed his great concern, and discredited the coach or the players in a few headline-suitable formulations.
They would have resisted, and the familiar image of the Chaos Club would promptly have been confirmed. The fact that such dynamics are not getting off the ground so quickly in the meantime is a great step forward, a credit to Heidel. What is missing, however, is progress on the pitch.
With all their efforts to emphasize the positive, the Schalkers were simply the worse team in many phases. Several individual mistakes happened, the attackers were far too harmless, and there is a problem with Sebastian Rudy, who was hired as the central figure in the defence. The national player’s playing abilities can be seen, but the former Munich player lacks the robustness required in this position. Again and again he gave opponents room for dribbling, passes and finishes, he invested far too little strength and energy in duels, defended timidly and still had cramps in the end. In this form Rudy is no reinforcement.
The crisis has thus finally broken over the club, especially as difficult matches against FC Porto in the Champions League and FC Bayern are imminent. Tedesco has no prior knowledge of such situations. Only once in his coaching career has he lost three games in a row, in the sheltered space of the VfB Stuttgart junior division. If you are looking for online casino games that offers big promos and bonuses, then Betsson if for you.
And at the end of the season, his team still played for the championship. But at the end of the evening Tedesco seemed surprisingly clear and “tidy”, as Heidel stated before he assured: “There is no helpless coach. That gives us a good feeling.”
Last season FC Schalke became runner-up thanks to its strong defensive team. Bayer Leverkusen played impressive offensive football. There isn’t much to see of either in the new season.
The strength of Schalke 04 in the past season is the weakness of the current season: The defensive. If the king’s blues conceded the third least goals of the league in Domenico Tedesco’s premiere season and played 13 times to zero, it is this strong defence that is the Schalker’s problem child. After three games, they have already conceded six goals. Against Borussia Mönchengladbach even weaknesses in high balls became obvious.
Just as a reminder: The Schalker three-man chain is on average 1.94 meters tall. The 0:1 in Gladbach fell after a corner, the 0:2 after a cross. At both goals, the defense seemed frighteningly disorganized. The commitment of Salif Sanés of Hannover 96 should actually provide even more stability. But so far the opposite has been the case.
This became clear just at the second goal against when four Schalker in a input from Oscar Wendt mutually obstructed each other and Patrick Herrmann to be shot in the decision. Tedesco was celebrated for his successes by the Schalke fans, but was also criticized for letting his team play too destructively. If the successes fail, the criticism might become louder and louder.
What was Schalke’s strong defensive was Leverkusen’s attack in the previous season: 58 goals in 34 games – Bayer provided the fourth best offensive in the Bundesliga. Only Bayern, Hoffenheim and Dortmund scored more often. Heiko Herrlich, himself a former striker, had his team play some enthusiastic attacking football. And now?
In Munich Herrlich bet on a chain of five and before that with Dominik Kohr and Lars Bender two very defensive sixes. Seven players, whose main task should be to work against the ball and to disturb the Bavarians in their combinations. That only worked to a limited extent. Leverkusen managed to prevent a very high defeat, but also had no serious chance to score more than the one penalty goal through Wendell and lost highly deserved 1:3.
The same result had been achieved when the two teams met last year at the start of the season. However, Bayer 04 had not only played strongly in the 4-2-3-1, but had also earned a number of good opportunities. After the weak start to the season, Herrlich seems to have lost his courage to play offensively. If he wants to lead the Leverkusen team back to success, he should quickly return to his basic idea.
Twelve goals were scored in the final quarter of an hour on the Bundesliga match day to date, ten of which were scored by substitute players. Clearly, the Bundesliga has a Joker problem. Where is Batman when you need him? But seriously, there are different explanations for the many late goals.
On the one hand, the squads of the Bundesliga teams are becoming better and better staffed across the board, so that the coaches can change goals, as Lucien Favre showed in his Dortmund victory against Frankfurt. On the other hand, the Bundesliga seems to have become even more balanced. The teams behind the series champion from Munich are moving closer and closer together.
The greater power density means that hardly any matches are decided early. Often it is shortly before the final whistle draws, or one of the teams leads only with a goal advantage. This makes late goals more important. The coaches change accordingly offensively. The result: The fresh, substitute players score goals that are decisive for the game. Quinnbet is one of the online casino games that offers lots of free bets and bonuses to the new players.