The Colonia Cup takes place at RheinEnergieStadion this Saturday and Sunday. With three well-known clubs coming to Köln for a quartet of test matches, the 1. FC Köln held a press conference in which coach Peter Stöger and midfielder Marcel Risse gave some brief impressions of the weekend’s action.
- The players are ready to show what they have“I think these are not typical test matches. Especially because of the opposition, they are special for many in our team.”
Marcel Risse figures that he and his teammates are at least a little excited for Colonia Cup and their chance to play Stoke City of the English Premiership and Villareal of La Liga. For a young squad with very little European experience to be found, the opportunity to play against squads from some of Europe’s other top leagues in a tournament-style setting provides the best measuring stick the players get all summer.
“It’s always more fun to play tests against teams that have some quality,” says Risse. “These last two matches are against extraordinary teams that bring high quality, and will certainly make things easy for us.”
“But we also have enough quality to stand up to these opponents.”
- Everyone is going to have their chance to impress this weekend“Everyone will be used,” says the coach. “The fans should know they will have the chance, over both days, to see every player utilized.”That Stöger is going to have to make a lot of decisions when picking his squad for the season opener at Stuttgart is well known. The significant roster turnover, which has brought a sudden wealth of options, much more numerous that what the coach had last year. Naturally, he’s going to take every opportunity to fine-tune his evaluations before he has to make decisions. Colonia Cup will be as good a chance as any to see everyone perform in game-like conditions.
“For each individual player, it’s another opportunity to check their own level of readiness and show us a little something,” says Stöger. “That naturally means that we also are taking the tests seriously.”
The coach did note that the focus will be more on player performance and execution than on how they are able to work within a game plan, due to the nature of preparing for unfamiliar opponents.
“It is our job to prepare the guys with how the opponent might play, but we also know that it’s not very easy during the preparation period because teams change going into a new season, meaning new players arrive,” responded Stöger to a question about preparing specifically for the weeekend’s opponents.
- The players are physically fit heading into the seasonPeter Stöger’s summer training camps are known to be physically gruelling, focusing on fitness perhaps above all other factors.”The preparations have gone well to this point. We have really been able to execute our training program, our workload,” says Stöger. “With the exception of Dominic Maroh, all the players were able to, more or less, complete the entire program. This is important, so that they are fit for the long haul of the season.”
With the players back in Köln this week and going through a training regiment much more close to what will be used during the season, these matches should give all spectators their best look at what the 1. FC Köln will present this year.
- Stöger is hoping his team and the effzeh fans can help put on a show for the guests.“We are fortunate to be part of this,” says Stöger. “We hope that many fans come to the stadium. The opposition deserve to be received with the according respect. We should show that we can deliver a great scene.”