Heads down, the tension’s off the shoulders. Cold wind is blowing into the pants of the Effzeh players and bewilderment is spreading. Week after week, 1. FC Köln fans wait for the moment of redemption. But every alleged negative climax is then topped.
Horn throws a water bottle on the ground. Helplessness is written all over his face. His team had just lost a 3-0 lead against SC Freiburg. It was by no means a good performance by the team from Cologne. A total of 25 shots by Freiburg were matched with only six by Köln. 34% ball possession and only 53% passing accuracy are symbolic of the second half of the year. But this lead should still have been somehow brought over time. At least for a spark of hope.
The deep fall of the Effzeh
From 5th place and qualification for Europe to relegation in just a few months. From self-confident Effzeh to a team that falls apart at the slightest setback. A sports drama that is second to none. In 1965/66, even Tasmania Berlin had one point more than Köln after 15 games. Schmadtke and Stöger are now being blamed. According to an open letter to the fans, it is an important factor for the situation that they have not recognized that the successful duo is no longer working.
Köln is also once again busy looking for reasons for external factors such as referees. It’s not a pretty picture Effzeh gives.
Meré, Maroh, Queirós, Rausch, Höger, Risse, Córdoba, Zoller, Pizarro and above all Jonas Hector – the list of injured is endless. Most of the rest of the squad has no Bundesliga quality. The question arises as to why the second-tier squad management was so out of line. Of course, such setbacks are hard to cope with for most clubs, but the manner in which they have done so is frightening.
Köln will have nothing left in Munich but to hope for mercy and luck. Ruthenbeck would be a magician if he could score one point or even three with this team. It’s almost more likely that Effzeh keeps the class and if you’re honest, that won’t happen either.
Bavarian arrogance? No, logical reasoning
But let’s have a look at Bayern. Jupp Heynckes should use the situation to take a calculated “risk”. He can start the rotation machine. FC Bayern may not underestimate this opponent either, but it is the last chance for the coach to spare regulars for the last big game of the first round.
A victory in the home game against Köln should also come about when Coman, Kimmich, Ribéry, James and all other regulars of the last weeks or days get a break. FC Bayern is facing a much bigger challenge in Stuttgart and on December 20th there will be a duel with Borussia Dortmund in the cup. Lewandowski was banged up, Coman also has problems. Ribéry has just returned and Kimmich only hides his little form crisis with beautiful assits. The Bayern players are on their last legs.
To save a few grains against Köln in order to get into the rhythm for the year’s finale in Stuttgart doesn’t sound like the arrogance that FCB is often accused of, but rather logical thinking.
Thinking outside the box
In any case, for the record champion it’s much more a matter of somehow winning the last three games and then repositioning themselves. It’s a forgotten fact that Heynckes and Hermann didn’t have any preparation.
Therefore, winter will be important. Tactical fine-tuning is necessary to achieve the big goals in the second half of the season. But the component of fitness will also play a role in winter. The current vulnerability to injuries is attributed to Ancelotti’s lax training. Exposure to higher intensity caused problems more quickly. Ancelotti’s camp, on the other hand, was sure to have a wise plan to make the team fit for the second half of the season.
However, the winter break will give Heynckes the opportunity to take his team to the level he thinks is right. Tactically, physically, but also individually. Heynckes reactivated basics in the first half of the season, which led to the fact that a hint of football in Munich already seemed like a revelation.
Thiago, Robben and Neuer are still injured and will be back soon. Whereby one should wait and see with Neuer. Boateng is also in the process of regaining his top form. When the regulars are back and the team of coaches can put their ideas into practice, it will become clear whether this FC Bayern can once again come on equal footing with Europe’s elite.