Belek! Belek! Wir fahren nach Belek!
We still have a few weeks before the arrival of match day 20 brings 2. Bundesliga action back to our entertainment opions, but the cast of characters we call 1. FC Köln return Monday to the Geisbockheim for the return to training in preparation for turning the final 16 matches of the season into the road to the a Bundesliga return.
A trip to Turkey for training camp and visits from a few other clubs for friendly matches are all part of the grand mid-winter scheme.
Barring any alterations, here is the schedule for your Effzeh fix through until SC Paderborn comes calling on February 9.
Each test match brings a player from the 2012-13 team back to Köln for a visit.
Christian Clemens, of course, was a young talent we all would have liked to have seen stick around, despite failing to achieve promotion last season. Alas, the lad wanted to be playing top-league ball, so when Schalke came calling, with money in hand and promises of not only Bundesliga matches but Champions League as well, it was time to go.
Clemens has played a bit and been injured a bit. It seems he will now have to battle for playing time, coming back from injury.
Daniel Royer also got to play Champions League this season, having transferred to Austria Wien after returning to Hannover when his loan to Köln expired.
Royer didn’t quite get the playing time he’d hoped to get under Holger Stanislawski, but he’s been getting it in buckets in Wien, having become an instant regular for coach Nenad Bjelica, the man who replaced our very own (in case you forgot) Peter Stöger, whose transfer from Wien is the reason this match is taking place.
Sidebar: Due to the general attitude of most of the FK Austria fans when the courting of Stöger and the following negotiations between Köln and Wien were happening, I took a bit of a shine to the club. Obviously, they won a title under Stöger and then qualified for Champions League without him, but I still feel the need to say they play some quality ball and feature some solid players. I’m certain they’ll want to perform very well against their old boss, so we might see a bit of a cracker in that match…maybe.
Anyhow, between those two matches, there’s a week in Belek, which apparently is on the “Turkish Riviera.” The hotel/resort at which the team is staying and training, at least judging by the photos on the website, is insanely gorgeous, with all the amenities you’d expect of such a venue, plus a water park!
Here’s to Stöger getting the troops back into the right mindset for the continued push for promotion, and that FC-TV can keep publishing enough content for the next month to keep me from losing my mind, quitting my job, and flying over to Belek.
Winter break is hard on some of us, you know?