Effzeh auf Englisch: Peter Stöger’s first Facebook chat with fans

Without going into too much detail, I cut a few questions and responses out of this because they were either rehashed from earlier questions and/or responses or because my German/translation skills didn’t allow me to make full sense of what was said (damn you, idioms!). I also cut all the niceties and formalities, so this reads a lot more chat-like than the actual chat did with all the greetings and salutations and what-have-yous.

Feel free to chime in with help if you see something I’ve completely boffed.

Also, get ready for a big, long bike ride with the boss, assuming you get to the bottom here…

Is there already a tactical orientation for the team? More offensive or more defensive and counter-attacking?

  • The orientation will be offensive – we want to score goals. There are, of course, formations, depending on personnel, which may follow. 

There were rumors of a farewell match. Will that still take place?

  • Already a farewell match for me??? Or, do you mean the  (former club) Austria (Wien) match? That will take place next year.

What are your own estimations as to where the FC finishes with this club?

  • We hope we will play among the best. As I said, the team is not yet complete. A good start to the new season will be important.

How do you view the integration of emerging young players? For many Köln fans, this is a hot topic. According to the general opinion of fans too little is being done here. It is certainly not that simple, as one would like points, too. Sometimes one also hears from trainers, that the boys should not be burned (or something similar). What is your opinion?

  • You answered a lot of your own question. A coaching job is a teaching job, i.e. development, especially of younger players. That is also my motto. Young players will be used, just like the others, when they bring more quality to the team.

What is your overall impression, to date, of individual players in training camp and which positions would you still like to fill?

  • We still seek offensive players; we’ve repeatedly emphasized this. My overall impression is simply super!!!

Please don’t quit so quickly.

  • We will not do that!

What do you think are the differences between the team last season and the one you have this season?

  • One cannot so easily describe the differences. Each team has its special structure and individuality, from there it’s difficult to assign comparisons.

How do your plans look with regard to the inclusion of players from our youth teams? Have you already players in focus for whom you see opportunities to fit into your system?

  • We had some players from the U21 team with us for the first test match. Even now in Windischgarsten we have young players among us – and that is very important. But give me a few days to get a complete overview.

How sure is the acquisition of Anthony Ujah? Is there a ‘Plan B’ should it not come together?

  • We are very confident and I hope that it works out. There is always a ‘Plan B;’ you must always  have one.

Many fans would certainly be interested as to which players from the youth squads will get a chance to show what they can do in the 2. Bundesliga.  Do you have any names floating around in your head of players who are on  the verge of the pro team?

  • It’s still too early for this. But be assured, I have always placed great value on the youth. I would never comment with names, anyhow.

After the continued back-and-forth in the press regarding Ujah, how likely is it that he ultimately comes to FC? Mainz has again denied (any deal). And how likely is it that yet another striker is acquired, as announced by (sporting director) Mr. (Jörg) Schmadtke?

  • I hope that it works out with Ujah and am also very confident in regard to this.  And, as for another offensive man, I’d appreciate that.

Which strikers are still in discussion? Perhaps Patrick Helmes?

  • Always first things first! I cannot personally imagine Helmes, he falls outside what is fiscally feasible. Hence, he’s not a topic of discussion.

What do you think of Pep Guardiola now training FC Bayern?

  • Great for the German league! Though, his predecessor was not entirely unsuccessful  :-)))

What does the team say about your new FC-eyeglasses? I’m immensely looking forward to July 14th. Hopefully I’ll get to see them.

Purple is out. Red and white, IN!

  • I believe the glasses are well-received. Though, we haven’t been together long enough that players would dare say something negative. But, it will come. Also, I look forward to 14 July, with my new eyeglasses.

When will Ujah be in training?

  • That I cannot yet say. In any case, he’s only in the second week of his holiday and there is therefore no stress around it.

We are seeking another striker beyond Tony Ujah. Philip Hosiner would be a good possibility, right?

  • Philip Hosiner is too expensive for Hoffenheim…

Are you prepared for goosebumps and the incomparable atmosphere at the first home match?

  • Absolutely prepared and in eager anticipation. With certainty ,I’ll end up with goosebumps.

A brief comment on the Köln media world: most of the comments from certain people at certain newspapers cannot be taken seriously. HOWEVER, what is more important: If you do a good job here, openly and honestly (which you do!), then you’ll have the best workplace in the world! Only the EFFZEH Köln. Bayern can win the treble every year, but to lead Köln backup (not for just one season!)…For that, there’s a monument!

  • That’s what I’ve heard. Should we succeed, there doesn’t need to be a monument. The joy of the fans and players will fully suffice.

Until when is it realistic that the squad is complete? You read a ton about Ujah and it can go fast, but is there also another offensive player already in negotiation? You don’t read anything about that yet. Wouldn’t it be important for the team to be as completed as soon as possible to avoid a false start as in last season?  Doyou see no problems in the middle, for at the moment you have three players (Mato, Lehmann, Adam) for three positions?

  • That’s correct. The sooner, the better – but, better to wait a few more days and make really good decisions than to rush a few shots that miss the mark. With regard to the middle: We have enough players. The priority now is singularly offensive.

How do you rate the sometimes negative opinions of your character  in terms of the fact that you leave your former clubs always on short order? Some are of the opinion this could also happen to us and you will consider the next great offer in the case of achieving promotion and a more-stable first-league team comes knocking.

Several coaches in the past have left us after a very short term, because they were surprised at the media, or were not clear with the board, or because they had “better” offers!

Do you have long-term plans with the Effzeh?

  • The problem was: I have always worked too well :-)))! Seriously, I’ve arrived in the german Bundesliga-that was my goal. With an unbelievable club, which I’d like to lead into the first league. That is my goal and should answer your question.

As of now, we know little about you privately. What makes you tick? What turns you off?

  • I’m a pleasant man in person.  Television turns me off.  Completley unspectacular.

Does the acquisition of Nenad Bjelica by Austrian come as a surprise to you?

  • I think he’s a good choice – and therefore somewhat surprising, as he is said to have recently signed a three-year contract.

I find the training sessions excellent. But I also find your human nature completely cool (for example, as with your little friend “Maxi” from Wien), a nice guy and a cool gesture today before training.

  • Many thanks – and from such boys and emotions derives football its lifeblood.. I had not met such a nice, friendly boy in a long time.

The players, before leaving, should briefly touch Hennes while passing. Traditionally it’s supposed to bring good luck…unless you do it wrong like Ujah did a few months ago.

This is not how it’s done.

  • In this, I’ve not yet engaged, but thanks for the tip.

Are you confident that the FC is on the best path to a successful future?

  • Yep, that’s me. Because I also have a good feeling about the structures in the club.

Should Tony stay, it would be wonderful. In defense and midfield I think we have a quick-witted troupe, but a striker is still an urgent need!  Should we rperhaps invest the available money in a “good” striker such as Helmes or Derdiyok, who no longer have a future  at their first-league clubs, but have demonstrated an eye for goals?  Does it make more sense to bring in several “cheaper players” who don’t take us further, like last year?

  • With Tony, I am very confident – and then we will continue work on the squad. And as has been already said: We work on solutions that must also be affordable. I think that is also important to you fans!

I hope you are allowed to work with the FC in peace and don’t allow the media in Köln to influence you.

  • At the moment, it’s going well in the media city Köln.

Can you recite the words of the FC-Hymn by heart? The Kölsche constitution? To what extent have you become imbued in all things Kölsch?

  • I work every day on it, you can believe that. And there is good progress.

I’m interested in whether the young Maxi Thiel, who I found very convincing in the first test match, will get a chance in the first team. Same for Fabian Schnellhardt.

  • Both of them are super boys. Fabian remains injured. Maxi has been well received. It’s a huge steop for him. I trust he will prevail here in Köln.

It’s often said that our squad is staffed too thinly. Would you agree? And the announced “offensive specialist,” is that more a striker or a 10?  

  • The squad is not huge – and for the offensive area, we need quality.

Which formation will you present?

  • We are trying to implement a 4-3-3.

How would you describe your football philosophy? What is important to you aside from the pass-quality to which you assign such great value?

  • Offensive playing style if possible, find player-based solutions, and give people the feeling that you’ve exhausted your physical stores for success.

Can you say something concrete about tactics, particularly the intended systems? Will it remain 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 or will further variations be tried? Possibly a 4-4-2 with a diamond, in which a 6 is also used?

  • I prefer 4-3-3, but we will ultimately choose the system that best fits the players.

Were you involved in the Ishak decision? If so, what was the decisive point against him?

  • The atmosphere in the team is very good, and Ishak wanted to try his luck elsewhere. I accepted that.

What dealings have you had with the media? How have you handled so far the dealings you’ve had on the Kölsch Boulevard? One reason for the resignation of your predecessor was indeed the rough treatment by the press.

  • I make my own impressions and it’s quite positive. However, I will be measured by success.This game is normal everywhere and due to the interest of so many people here is a bit more extreme!

For years, internal issues have been leaked outside the team though the press…The consequences of such behavior is detrimental to the club, the team, and ultimately the fans. It would make me improbably happy if you were able to get this bad habit under control. Do you think you can achieve this?

  • I will try and promote team spirit in this regard. With our open communication, this should not be an issue.

Is it not an option to bring Nova back? He has often proved he is accurate. He also loves FC Köln.

  • It’s always a question of feasibility.

If you could, which player from the Bundesliga would you happily get for your team?

  • There are many interesting players, it’s always a matter of feasibility. But if I get a free wish – David Alaba!

My bet for the coming season: Should the FC achieve promotion, then I will travel from Südhessen, not as usual with the fan bus, car or train, but by bike. (Whomever would like to do this with me is welcome.) Do you also have a bet for promotion or non-promotion?

  • If we achieve promotion, then I will accompany you on the bike. One more thing, I hate cycling…


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