"Mer stonn zu dir, Effzeh Kölle." The hymn of FC always gives me "gänsehaut", or goosebumps, but can this season give the city the same? Find out what editor Axel thinks.
Domstadt. Interesting name to be fair. Funnily enough, the city where I live is a ""Domstadt". Yes, my dear Linköping in Sweden has a long and surprisingly rich history and is one of the Swedish cities with a "Dom", or cathedral. Therefore, Linköping has a Cologne-feel to it, it is genuinely the only city I've been in that reminds e of Cologne and apart from the Dom, I'm not too sure why. Whether it's due to the friendly people, the hilarious dialect or the good beer (Kölsch, try it! It's fantastic.), I don't know.
Cologne has a rich history and is one of the German cities with a "Dom", or a cathedral as it's called in English. It also has one of the most historically important t´football teams in the country. FC Köln was one of the founders of Bundesliga and won the first edition of the very same in 1961. Back then it was debated whether Cologne was going to be elected as the new capital for Germany, but they opted for Bonn instead (Mainly due to Adenauer being from Bonn). The city is beautiful and grand and has one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe, one that has been renovated too many times.
Moreover, the very pious FC Köln, or Effzeh as they're called., have been bouncing up and down from Bundesliga to 2. Bundesliga during the last ten years and have produced some quality players, among those Lukas Podolski and Timo Horn. However, the club's actual expectations should be higher than fighting for relegation in Bundesliga. This is a club with a massive fanbase, with a decent economy and with a clever transfer policy that should allow them to constantly and steadily evolve as a club, but this hasn't mattered, Effzeh have bounced down and back up either way. Until Peter Stöger came along. Stöger has revolutionized Effzeh and has brought them back to Bundesliga where they belong. Time will tell if he can bring them back to their best, where the club itself perhaps deserves to be.
Last season was an odd one for them, the dreaded second season that has slayed so many teams. However, Effzeh did very well. They started off in amazing fashion and was one of the surprise teams of the Hinrunde along with Mainz and Hertha, but they stopped playing football after having beaten Dortmund at home and went through a string of bad performances until they finally found themselves in the middle of the toughly contested table. Considering their amazing Hinrunde and their, in comparison, horrible Rückrunde, I coud see them pushing for European football come April, May. Should they succeed, then it's massive for the club as it would mean European football is back at the Rhein-Energie Stadion in the grand city of western Germany. Could it be done? It's hard to say if its actually plausible, but it is possible. With Horn, Hector and Heinz they have a good defence, which proved to be the key to last Hinrunde's success where they had one of the best defences of the league. This must be replicated would they push for Europa League. Their attack has to start working again though. As editor Ali wrote during the Rückrunde, Effzeh struggled in attack and had a creativity condundrum to solve. They have the quality to create chances to win games with Bittencourt, Jojic and Modeste as the most obvious threats, but that's basically it and if these players don't deliver, then it could be a tough and boring season for the team from Domstadt.
Key player: Timo Horn. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the league and teams up with a great defence to form a real wall at the back.
Surprise player: Sehrou Guirassy. With Yannick Gerhardt gone we need to find a new young exciting prospect. Young striker Sehrou Guirassy signed from Lille in the summer and could prove to be something extraordinary. .
Falk's prediction: 9th. The push for Europe will prove too tough. .
Ali's prediction: 8th.
editor, Linköping inhabitant and not at all a lover of all things Bulgarian.
This is where it all begins. Our resident analysts study the unrecognised players and examine the matches that are of interest across Europe.