Effzeh auf Englisch: 1. FC Köln News from 6 August 2013

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While my heart belongs to just the one club, my love for the sport is owed largely to the Bundesliga on the whole. When I spend my academic year in Germany, I knew of 1. FC Köln, but they were simply among the many clubs in the league about which I knew little. The concept of a league without post-season playoffs seemed antithetical to me, much less the idea that a team would earn a berth in a European competition through the efforts of a differently equipped team than the one that will actually compete in that competition. Then, to have those competitions AND a national knock-out tournament running concurrently?

Too much for my naive, American mind to fathom at the time. Frankly, I thought it all anti-thetical to what I KNEW was the right way for competitive sports to be organized.

Eventually, the access to information on German football from so far away via the internet became far too free, combining with a curiosity about geography and sociology that I only wish I’d had when I was actually overseas to turn it all into a bit of an obsession.

So, while I’m now three weeks into the season following what has become “mein Verein,” I’m also very excited for the launch of the Bundesliga season Friday.

I’m not THAT excited about Friday’s match. if I’m honest. Bayern hosting the Ponies isn’t really a must=see game for me. I did not learn much, relatively, in that first contact with the world’s game, but what I did retain was an inherent dislike for the New York Yankees-ness of FC Bayern München. I can’t pull for them, except in Europe when my affinity for Germany takes over any anti-Hollywood thoughts toward the ‘star of the south.’

This is unlike how I feel about the New York Yankees against whom I’d root were they playing a team with a roster filled with axe murderers and tyrants.

Borussia Mönchengladbach was a club I somewhat liked in that first season of paying some attention to the game, but some of the fans on Twitter….well, I’ve learned to dislike their club. I suppose that’s how rivalries sustain. So…good job, Ponies fans?

Same thing for the Leverkusen fans. Yes, you. Both of you!

Seriously, though, I’m anticipating another great, if anti-climatic at the very top, season of top-flight German football. Most of the soccer cheerleaders in the US are deep in the Premier League, which has grown so popular here they will have weekly matches on network television for the first time ever. Not me. I’m a Bundesliga pimp if ever there were one. That’s where my sporting interest lies.

But my sporting obsession is, of course, 1. FC Köln. So…

  • Missing from training Tuesday was the embattled Thomas Bröker, resportedly suffering “muscular problems,” says the report on KSTA.de. Though, with a Wednesday return to practice reportedly likely, I’m not sure the issue is significant enough to think a lingering issue could mean an open spot in the starting eleven.
  • The club announced yesterday the launch of the new 1. FC Köln app for mobile devices. I lamented several times last season that the application was not available for download in the US. I may have even tried to sign up for a German app store in the hopes I could somehow cram it onto my device.

    Looks great on a US-based mobile devices, I can tell you that!

    Despite last year’s sadness, I went immediately to the Google play store to see whether the powers that be had seen fit to let whatever US-based fans exist in on the mobile fun. My search showed the same unofficial applications and random football-related apps I always see when I search. Scrolling a bit, I see the red-and-white logo, but tagged as being from “Tobit.Software.” It’s new, but IS THIS IT? I mean, I’d have assumed it would be the top return if it were official.

    A quick Twitter query got me the answer I didn’t believe would come and drove me directly to hit the “install” button.

    Now I have it and can say that it’s not much more than a collection of information available elsewhere on the internet, though helpfully collated all in one place. Even so, the important thing to me is that it’s now available here. The further development of the content for the mobile app will come with time, I am certain. For now, I’ll just happy to feel that slight increase of being included.

  • Kid scores a goal and suddenly he’s full of bluster.Maxi Thiel took to Facebook to crow about the successful start by the club to the DFB Cup, share his excitement at having scored his first goal as Effzeh, and state plainly that it will be with plenty of self-confidence he and his teammates will travel to Paderborn this weekend to grab all three points.

    If you didn’t see the look on Thiel’s face after hammering home the 0:2 in Trier and effectively putting the match out of reach, you should and then realize we have a young, talented kid driven to succeed. There are worse things to have in the club.

    I’m REALLY hoping Thiel gets more time in Paderborn. Ten minutes against a fourth-tier team doesn’t tell the whole story, I am sure, but he showed me something. I hope coach Stöger is seeing something similar during the week.

  • Speaking of the man in charge who got his first taste of victory since trading his purple eyeglasses for some red-and-white specs, Stöger also delivered a Sunday Facebook message in the wake of the victory in Trier, though his was not quite as full of a young man’s vigor.It was..you know…coach-y.

    Stöger mentioned that Thiel’s goal reached 109 kilometers per hour and that Marcel Risse’s goal was the 500th goal scored by the Effzeh in DFB Cup action. Nice little informative tidbits to place among brief celebratory words, before…

    “In the first half, we had a lot of possession and, with it, control of the game. However, we made too little of it,” critiqued the coach, sharing the sentiment of many fans, I feel safe to say. Far from harsh, of course, and I’m certain the players are hearing more direct feedback away from the prying eyes and ears of fans and media.

    Can you hear me now?!

     

  • Winning definitely puts everyone in a good mood. Even infrequent Facebooker Marcel Risse took a moment to send his compliments to “the team and the fans” and to say it felt like a home game.
  • Are you, unlike me, actually the sort who attends away matches? If so, you may want to keep an eye on Effzeh.com’s new feature “Zusatzspiel” in which will be gathered pertinent information for those Effzeh fans looking to make the trip to matches not played at Müngersdorf.Currently on offer is train information for the trip to Paderborn, a link to carpool opportunities, and even some concession prices. It would seem to be a work in progress, but is a promising idea that has potential to be a pivotal area for planning Effzeh trips, if you should be so lucky.
     
  • I didn’t want to get into the issue of the fireworks in the visiting fan stands during Saturday night’s match earlier, because I wanted the game to be separated from that.Now that we’ve celebrated the victory and all that, we should talk.

    The club is at least stating they are looking to identify individuals responsible for the fireworks that caused Saturday’s match to actually be halted for several minutes.

    That’s right! If you didn’t see the match and hadn’t heard otherwise, the match was actually delayed by the referee because of the pyrotechnic display in Köln’s section of the stadium.

    At issue here is not whether the banning of fireworks at matches is justified, even though I’m certain the dimwits who participated will launch a line about that among their first defenses of their actions.

    Just…no.

    The issue here is that the cost of a few simpletons getting their jollies off bright, colorful lights, the entire club must suffer heavy financial burdens. Further, it would be virtually impossible for those who will have ultimately cost the club the money to not have known their actions would be expensive, especially since the coming fine will not be the first for the Effzeh. Fiscal punishment is known to be the chosen method of discipline, so nobody can realistically claim, “I had no idea!”

    Hence, are these really fans? Clearly, they put more time and money into attending matches than I have ( so far…), but they’re also harming the progress of the club in ways fans of rival clubs could only dream of doing. Even this summer I saw fans of other clubs complaining of all the money being spent by 1. FC Köln, particularly after the deal to bring Anthony Ujah back to Köln was completed. I have to believe some of these people would have been only too happy to devise a scheme through which the Billy Goats would have lacked the finances to secure the upgrade in personnel.

    Yet, there is no need, as some “fans” are happy to do the dirty work for them. It is completely insane!

    Alexander Wehrle claims the fines from such action have cost the club half-a-million Euro over the last three years. That’s not buying Wayne Rooney, but you can do something with that money that does more for the long-term on-field success than some red flares could ever hope to accomplish.

    Part of being in a club, or even a member of a fan base, is the sense of being part of something larger. It doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has the same mind on much of anything, though in this case, I’d think everyone would agree we all want the team to win games. So, how can anyone do something so selflish and harmful when also asserting they’re doing it as a sign of support?

    Or are they simply doing it as rebellion, Effzeh be damned?

    I don’t get it. I don’t really want to get it. I just wish it would get fixed.

    Funny enough, the Missus and I were talking light-heartedly about taking the boys (eventually) to Köln someday, perhaps taking the suggestion of Twitter friend @xflosetsfire and arriving on Rosenmontag and telling Owen the festivities are all in honor of his arrival. When I spoke of the necessity of attending our first match together while there, the Missus was suddenly uncertain, saying she was getting the impression the level of hooliganism there is so high that it would be dangerous for kids.

    If I’m honest, I remember thinking the same thing when headed toward Westfalenstadion for my first-ever soccer match. I thought there was a good chance I’d end up in the middle of some brawls.

    Of course, that’s the exception, but the perception is heavily colored by the exception, as they’re so remarkable and get the unfair amount of reporting.  Luckily, I know better and have no concerns about taking the boys to a match, though we obviously aren’t going to be in the stands.

    At any rate, this all needs to stop. With all the hand-held technology, I hope someone had the presence of mind to get some shots of those responsible in the act. Such a person handing over evidence to the club would be achieving a lot more positive for the club than those who refuse to accept there are boundaries that, once crossed, move from helping to hurting.

    Because the fact is, take away the fireworks and any other forbidden behaviors and the atmosphere at Müngersdorf and from the visiting stands during road matches is still unrivaled. I put our 99% up against anyone else’s.

    That other 1%? All y’all are on the same team, if you ask me, and it’s all about YOU, which is a sad misperception you’ve acquired.

  • Not a mention of the Effzeh to be had within, but the people at “talking fussball” are all about German football and talk about it at length in English-langauge podcasts. Episode two went up yesterday. Good listen for the English speakers looking for top-league information and opinion.
  • Finally, the long-awaited announcement of Mikael Ishak’s transfer was made Monday, with the Swedish striker moving to FC Parma (Parma again?!).

    I simply have nothing to add to that. I’d forgotten the matter had yet to be formally settled!

I probably should have known I’d go on a bit of a rant about the fireworks money, because it really is an irritant.

Whether you’re on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, I wish you an Effzeh-filled day!

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