Bleating/repeating (in English) news found elsewhere so you don’t have to learn German or even employ your Google Translate skills. I had hoped to not have week-long breaks, but that’s the life these days!
Official News (aka ‘what the club wants you to know’)
If you’ve read or heard only one bit of FC news since Sunday’s derby victory, it likely has been about the signing of young French midfielder Vincent Koziello.
If you watch as much Ligue 1 as I do, your reaction was probably something like, “AWESOME! . . . Who?”
Koziello comes from OGC Nice (where both Lucien Favre and Dante have landed) having already logged 102 matches while only 22-years-old. He also has made national-team appearances in France’s famously stacked youth ranks.
The move comes with a contract into 2022.
“Vincent was my primary target from the very start. If we were going to sign another player, it was going to be him,” said business director Armin Veh. “He can be used variably in midfield and expands our possibilities.. I am very pleased that the transfer came together.”
The club’s Tuesday announcement said Koziello would wear number 41 and join training immediately. Koziello seemed anxious to get to work to earn his playing time.
“FC was very zealous in their pursuit of me. We had some good talks and I felt good right away,” said Koziello. “I am coming to a big club in a strong league, but also have aspirations to play as soon as possible and help the FC achieve its goals.”
After his first day of training Wednesday, Koziello answered some questions for the club site. You can read it in English for yourself, but you have to like the idea the kid was sitting there watching the derby in awe of the great atmosphere at the stadium and seeing a team he felt he would be able to help to “do everything in our power to keep this team in the Bundesliga.”
And, let’s face it, the last time we pulled in a Frenchman, it worked out pretty well.
What’s that? Is there a highlights video with awful techno music as soundtrack? Well, of course there is!
Personnel Flooding Back to Team
Koziello was not the only fresh face to appear at training this week. Both Dominic Maroh and Jhon Cordoba participated in team training for the first time since prolonged absences due to injury, providing further depth to trainer Stefan Ruthenbeck’s squad.
There was one notable new absence, however. Konstantin Rausch was excused from Wednesday’s training sessions to attend to “personal matters.” According to multiple reports, those “matters” involve Rausch moving to FC Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Premier League. Between Rausch’s recent activity with the Russian national team and the return of Jonas Hector to the left back position potentially limiting Rausch’s playing time, a move would make sense.
Whatever your thoughts on Rausch’s crossing abilities overall, there is no denying that what may end up being his final action for the FC (the cross to Simon Terodde for the derby-winning goal) will long and fondly be remembered in the hearts of all Köln faithful.
Just in case you thought the front-office shake-up had finally settled . . .
Once upon a time, I had thought that maybe Jakobs and Stöger would collaborate to guide the club in a post-Schmadtke world. Now both men are formerly FC.
As was the case with goalkeeper coach Alexander Bade, the club is saying the separation comes at Jakob’s request and that his time will officially end at the end of the month. You can read more, including Jakobs’ words on the matter, on the club’s English site.
Further afield . . .
Lukas Podolski vs. Gladbach fans
Sunday’s derby victory was one for the ages. With the Rausch-to-Terodde-to-victory sequence that ended the home win over Borussia Mönchengladbach, the general mood surrounding the club went from concern over the direction under new management to sheer elation and genuine hope for staying in the league for next season.
As usual, Lukas Podolski quickly became the highest-profile participant in the social media celebrations.
— Lukas-Podolski.com (@Podolski10) January 14, 2018
While Derbysieg (derby victory) and 3Punkte (3 points) speak for themselves and are certainly incendiary enough to trigger fans of the Ponies who are already likely to have frayed nerves over losing in such dramatic fashion, Poldi upped the ante by jabbing at the Gladbachers with “Fahne,” referencing an off-pitch victory in the never-ending game of ‘Capture the Flag’ between the clubs’ supporter groups.
At halftime of the match, a member of one of the FC ultras groups disguised himself as a stadium staff member, gained entry to the area where visiting fans are sequestered, and absconded with one of the banners hung in support of the Ponies. Pursued by legitimate security staff, the perpetrator disappeared into the mass of FC fans with the banner.
Podolski, who has a great and long-standing relationship with the FC ultras, felt the action notable enough to mention alongside the match result when asking “what else could you want?”
Always sensitive to a slight, the Gladbach fans responded in kind, by flooding the Facebook page of Podolski’s recently opened Mangal Döner with one-star reviews.
And just as Rausch and Terodde took what Gladbach provided to slam the door closed on the match, Podolski had the last laugh in the matter
— Lukas-Podolski.com (@Podolski10) January 16, 2018
Podolski used Twitter to share his notifications of several negative reviews, writing “There apparently as some frustrated Gladbachers. Thanks for the ratings. 1 star is still even better than 0 points” and declaring himself the victor in the “Döner Derby”.
All I know is that once I finally get my ass over there for a match, I’ll be stuffing my face with some of Mangal’s offerings. I love döner. If Gladbachers’ tastes in döner are generally as poor as they are in football clubs, it might be some of the best food available on the planet.
Meet me there, Prinz Poldi?