Another busy day for the club with yet another new signing and a test match on the schedule.
I have very little personal stuff to insert here, as yesterday was a whirlwind of work, dinner, cleaning, and child care. I may have snuck in a game of FIFA 13, but am almost too embarrassed to admit I drew at Mönchengladbach, 2:2.
Anyhow, let’s get to it!
A regular goal from Miso “BREKKO” Becko gave the Effzeh all the scoring they’d need to get by Czech side FK Baumit Jablonec, but that didn’t stop Mato Jajao and Kacper Przybylko from converting from the penalty spot to give the Billy Goats a decisive 3:0 victory in Tuesday’s test match.
I don’t have a ton to say about this match other than that Jablonec looked completely outmatched. I, for one, am about ready to be done with test matches and training and to get this season rolling. Dresden, we’re coming for you! (well, not me, because I’ll be way over here and, from the last time I was in eastern Germany, learned that Americans are not necessarily beloved over there)
And, the announcer at the stadium in Pettenbach, Austria delivered some interesting pronunciations of player names.
- Yesterday, I pointed you to an article saying Daniel Halfar was leaving 1860 Münich, with 1. FC Köln being the favorite among the two rumored destinations for him.
Today, I am happy to report Halfar DID choose correctly by joining the Billy Goats and inking a three-year deal in the process, pending the results of a team physical, of course.
Jörg Schmadtke said Halfar’s strength offensively will “strengthen our squad and expand our opportunities in the offensive area.” The Effzeh sporting director also pointed to Halfar’s unique position of being a well-seasoned though still-young player, having already logged 170 matches between the top two leagues despite being only 25 years of age.
I noticed some of the dissenting opinion among active #Effzeh Twitterers was that Halfar is not appreciably different a player than Slawomir Pesko and that he seems to have become a player who never quite managed to translate his high level of talent into measurable on-field success.
Though financial deals have not been announced, the money spent on the transfer is rumored to be in the mid-six-figure range, which is relatively low for a player of Halfar’s caliber.
If nothing else, the Lions will not have Halfar on hand to somehow equalize a match in which they’d been thoroughly outplayed by the Billy Goats.
Now that I have said that, I suppose he could score an own goal…AH! Forget I said anything!
- Apparently, a final resolution to the Slawomir Pesko saga is meant to be revealed soon, according to an article at Express.de, which quotes Alexander Wehrle as saying about the situation, “We must ultimately come to a decision.”
Having not followed this story very closely, I had actually assumed the decision was already made, with the decision being Pesko’s services are not desired.
Yet, the Express article says Pesko is in Poland keeping himself fit and hoping for a return to the Effzeh.
- Following training camp via photos and videos, you’d have to be blind to not notice a man they call “Big Ron.” Apparently Big Ron is a big Effzeh fan and runs a Kölsche pub in Mallorca, which I’ve now added to my list of places to visit at some point.
- Kölnische Rundschau ran an interview with Maurice Exslager today, continuing a series of interviews with newcomers to the Effzeh.
In the interview, Exslager said he ultimately received apologies from some fans of his former club, who labeled him a “traitor” when he left MSV Duisburg in the wake of the Zebras’ relegation from 2. Bundesliga. While this may be true, one needs only to look at his Facebook page to see there are still some hurt feelings on the part of some MSV fans.
For example, you have Markus Küpper, who, from his photo, seems to be a grown man at least old enough to realize how childish it sounds to scold a player for pursuing his career goals wherever he sees fit before wishing upon him, “I hope you rust on the bench like Maier(hofer)blöder.”
It should be said, though, that there clearly are many more Duisburg fans who have a reasonable view of Exslager’s move to Köln and want to be supportive of a kid who grew up in Bocholt, about 50 kilometers north of Duisburg and was lovingly referred to as “hooligan” by many.
Exslager denied being a “hooligan,” in the interview.
It wasn’t an enlightening piece, to be honest.
- “Ich bin endlich zu Hause.”
For those with FC-TV access (highly recommended for any and all fans who cannot be in Germany during the season), there is a video announcing/celebrating Anthony Ujah’s return to the club that starts with Tony uttering that line, meaning “I am finally at home.”
You didn’t think that, just because he was officially back, that I’d go a day without talking about Ujah, did you?
If you’ve caught Ujah in any FC-TV post-game interviews (the one with Sascha Bigalke was fun), you know how shy the Nigerian is about his German-language skills, so it was nice to hear.
After that sentence comes scenes of Ujah reconnecting with teammates upon his arrival in Windischgarsten, all sound-tracked by some horrible techno music (sidebar: Dear FC Köln, hire me and I’ll make sure your musical selections are a thousand-times more palatable. Love ya!), before the man gets to speak his mind, auf English.
“I’ve never hidden my desire to stay here….even though I had other options, ever since I made up my mind, it never changed. I want to say ‘thank you’ to Mainz and also to Cologne because both clubs made it possible for me to continue my development here. I am grateful to both clubs. So I hope I can continue to learn more, because I have a lot to learn, and I hope I can pay back the trust the club has given me.”
Then, more bad techno-pop before Ujah ends the video stuttering his way through saying “Jetzt bin ich ein Kölsche Junge,” all the while wearing that wide smile that endeared him to so many Effzeh fans.
Some of the same clips can be seen in a video posted at Newsplay.DE , though, unlike the FC-TV version, there is German translation spoken over Ujah’s English.
Now that the smoke has cleared, Ujah finally is back on his Twitter account and sharing photos from camp, so go check them out!