Effzeh auf Englisch: Interview with 1860 coach Friedhelm Funkel

Being a relative newcomer to all thing Effzeh, I know little of the club’s history. I read things here and there. I watch some videos. I generally do what I can to become more knowledgeable, but am somewhat limited in resources of time and material, at least from becoming a bit of an encyclopedic expert. 

Hence, I had NO idea current 1860 München coach Friedhelm Funkel had formerly managed at 1. FC Köln. It turns out he was hired in February of the 2001-02 season to take over a team ready for the plunge back to the second league. Unable to steer the club into a safe spot, he managed the next-best thing, heading a successful effort for a direct return to the top league. Ten matches into the following season, he was out, with the Effzeh having lost seven of those ten matches.

That club ultimately finished 18th in the table, just behind Funkel’s current club. While 1. FC Köln continued their yo-yo act by winning the second league the next season, the 17th place finish for the Lions marked the last time 1860 played in the Bundesliga, meaning this season will round out a full decade in the second league for München’s other club.

Okay, so I’m a little caught up, and, in case you were like me, now you know what I know.

What follows is my translation of an interview with Funkel as posted at fc-koeln.de.

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„I return happily to Köln“

Lions coach Friedhelm Funkel in conversation

In an interview with fc-koeln.de new 1860 coach Friedhelm Funkel talks about the sporting situation of 1860, the hottest competitors for promotion this season, and about his time with 1. FC Köln. 

Mister Funkel, after the good Pokal match against Borussia Dortmund, which the BVB won, your team lost in Kaiserslautern 0:3 and took only one point against Cottbus despite having the better chances. Where is the shortcoming at this point?

Friedhelm Funkel: “We’re working intensively in all areas: tactical and technical. One-on-one battles are on the program, same for utilizing chances and finishing.“

1860 München is currently experiencing their tenth-consecutive second-league season and has, over this time, already parted ways with nine coaches. How do you see your role in what is surely not a very easy environment? 

“It is always delightful to work with a traditional club. We’re trying to bring consistency and stability. Only when that is feasible, can one think about the Bundesliga.“

Crisis is nothing new for you. When you took over the 1. FC Köln in February 2002, the FC was in last place sitting eight points behind a safe place and was working on establishing a record which still stands today for the longest stretch of time without a goal scored. How did you experience your time as the head coach of 1. FC Köln?

„Very intense and emotional. After the relegation, we managed to build a new team and earn the direct return. That was very important for the city and the club. In fact, I’ve always been very comfortable there and enjoy coming back.”

What is your best memory of the promotion season?

“I was able to coach a great team with players like Dirk Lottner, Matthias Scherz, Carsten Cullmann, Alexander Bade…Those were great personalities. And we went on and unbelievable run from match day 1 to 25 without a loss, until we lost inn our own stadium 1:4 against Mainz.  Also, the cooperation with the leadershipt back then, President Albert Caspers and Manager Andreas Rettig, was outstanding.“

1860 has not won in Köln in over nine years. Why would the streak end on Monday night with you in the coaching box?

“Because we shoot one goal more.“

You have earned promotion as a coach five times. With your experience: which teams will play in the Bundesliga next year?

“There are several candidates capable of achieving it: Köln, Kaiserslautern, Union Berlin, Fortuna Düsseldorf, or 1860 München.“

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