It seems fair to say that Simon Zoller’s year-plus with 1. FC Köln has not gone as smoothly as any involved parties would have liked. When the striker was purchased from 1. FC Kaiserslautern last June, many were critical of his €3 million price tag and were doubtful he would deliver enough value to make the expenditure worthwhile. After Zoller managed just one goal and nine appearances in the first half of the 2014-15 season, his detractors felt their skepticism validated. When Zoller requested a loan back to second-division Kaiserslautern for the second half of the season, many hoped he’d stay there in exchange for a return of some of the transfer fee paid to acquire him, allowing the club to just write the move off as a loss.
But Zoller has returned to the FC, perhaps a bit humbled from the experience, and is earning praise for his summertime work effort from coach Peter Stöger, who famously was fairly public with his disappointment in Zoller for wanting to go to his old team rather than fight for time in the top division with his new one.
Despite a reputation for being an active user of social media, Zoller has been relatively quiet since the end of last season. The new Number Eleven in Köln broke his silence in an interview with Express this week.
- “Ten cups a day!”That is how Zoller responds when asked, as he is served a cappuccino, whether he drinks much coffee. “I simply really like coffee, and it is, for me, an absolute treat to drink.”
- “It is nice to see your lady on television.”
Zoller has been romantically attached to TV moderator Laura Wontorra for over a year. After covering the 2. Bundesliga the last few seasons, Sport1 has tabbed her for European duty, assigning her to the channel’s Europa League coverage for the coming season.
With the couple already juggling two very divergent and busy schedules, Wontorra’s new gig likely means even less time for the pair to spend together, but Zoller says they are both used to it.
“It’s always been like that with us. We are familiar with it,” says Zoller. “For her, it’s another step along her career path, and I’m proud of her.”
- “I want to play in as many games as possible, even in positions that might be unfamiliar to me.”In last week’s test match against RCD Espanyol, Zoller started on the left flank in a 4-4-2, perhaps indicative that he truly is committed to doing whatever it takes to help the effzeh succeed.”It may be unusual for a striker to say, but it feels good to run behind the ball. Through such scenes, you can also get your self-confidence.”
Zoller said he felt comfortable playing on the flank thanks, in part, to the coverage provided by Jonas Hector behind him.
- “I took (my offseason preparation) very seriously this year.”Certainly, Zoller doesn’t intend for his words to be taken to mean that he didn’t take his preparation seriously last year, but instead trying to settle into new surroundings, while also proving his worthiness in the top flight, he enters the coming season knowing his competitive fortitude had been called into question and that it is time to prove himself in Köln.”I may have been a bit naive here last year and have learned from it, which does not mean that I would sequester myself or remain silent or swear a vow,” says Zoller of last season’s struggles. “This summer is the first time in four years that I have not moved. Perhaps came to benefit me that I had no hassles and am fully focused at FC.”
“I am better along the road than I was at this point in time last year, I think.”