Let it Bleat – 3 January 2018

Bleating/repeating (in English) news found elsewhere so you don’t have to learn German or even employ your Google Translate skills. Two days in a row? It’s a trend!

  • Bade is out . . . in . . . OUT!
  • Risse!
  • Winter shopping in Poland?
  • Will youth movement send some away by January’s end?

Official News (aka ‘what the club wants you to know’)

Alexander Bade Will Leave

When news broke that Andreas Menger had been hired as goalkeeper coach, it was also reported that long-time FC keeper coach Alexander Bade had been fired. Eventually, there was some reshaping of the narrative to at least say that the popular Bade had NOT been fired.  Considering the reaction of fans (and voting members) to the firing of Peter Stöger, it would make sense that the club’s board of directors would be sensitive to further disrupting things, personnel-wise.

With yesterday’s official announcement of Menger’s hiring, the club said Bade would assume “other” responsibilities. Today’s news would indicate that among those “other” things Bade will do is pack his things and leave the club.

“Goalkeeper Alexander Bade will leave the 1. FC Köln at the end of the month; his contract was dissolved by mutual consent.”

Like the departures of Jörg Schmadtke and Stöger, it’s unlikely we will know the exact truth of how things played out to get to this point, but the end result is all the same.

Best wishes to Bade, whatever comes next for him.

Let the Football Training BEGIN! 

The players returned to work yesterday, but only for conditioning testing via the lactate testing. The first football-related training in preparation for the second half of the season came Wednesday morning.

Among the 28 professionals reported to have trained on the pitch was Marcel Risse, albeit as a limited participant. The right-winger has not played since late September due to a meniscus tear in his right knee.

Naturally, the return of Simon Terodde to the FC training grounds was a main focus for the training report.

“Nothing has changed: The physiotherapist and attendant are still there; the lockers haven’t changed,” said Terodde. “That is why I felt at-home immediately. I am glad to  be back and look forward to the first on-ball session.”

Terodde also addressed the impossible-seeming task facing he and his new teammates starting in eleven days.

“I am trying to fully engage here from the first day, get a foothold, and contribute with my qualities,” said Terodde. “I, too, can read the table, despite which we will do everything we can to pull it off.”

Transfer Rumor 

Disclaimer:  I hate transfer rumors. Even though the overwhelming majority of them are based in/born of fiction, they disproportionately dominate football chatter on the internet. It’s worse in the summer when clubs aren’t playing, but there is no dearth in the winter. I will evaluate their validity individually when sharing them. Cool? Cool.

Rafal Kurzawa

Express reports the FC and SC Freiburg have shown interest in the a winter acquisition of Kurzawa from Polish side Gornik Zabrze.

The 24-year-old leads the Ekstraklasa in assists with eleven in 21 appearances. He has also contributed a goal and an assist in three Polish Cup appearances to help lead his club to the semifinal round. In November, Kurzawa made his international debut for Poland as a substitute in a test match against Mexico.

Though his standout performance as a distributor would be enough to get attention from suitors, it’s Kurzawa’s contract that likely has his name being mentioned as a winter transfer target. His deal expires this summer, and while the club has expressed strong interest in keeping their emerging star, Kurzawa rejected Gornik Zabrze’s initial new contract offer.

All of this is easy enough to confirm in a variety of Polish reports found online and filtered through Google Translate.

Now ask yourself how likely you think it is that a guy hoping to catch a ride to Russia as part of the Polish national team will leave the league of his homeland where he is an everyday starter and is playing very well. Certainly, if he moved to the Bundesliga and played well, it could greatly boost his chances, but a mid-season switch would be a significant gamble for him. Naturally, this assumes that his status with the national team is a motivating factor in what he does this month. Some of the pieces in Polish media suggest that Kurzawa lacks the speed and athleticism to make the leap in competition level at this point in his career.

Take it for what it’s worth.

No Fire Sale vs. No Sales

The historically bad Hinrunde put the FC in a position where relegation seems extremely likely, though by no means clinched, at the midpoint of the season. The situation, paired with a complete turnover of the coaching staff, made the winter break a good time to make drastic changes to pursue one of two major courses: tear it all down and start rebuilding for a quick bounce-back to the Bundesliga or spend wildly to assemble enough talent to pursue a full turnaround in the second half in the hopes of doing enough to move two spots higher in the table.

New sporting director Armin Veh dismissed any notion of jettisoning top talent, whichever route he believes his new employer to be following.

Of course, saying you won’t be selling players like Timo Horn and Jonas Hector at the break is not the same as saying “nobody is going nowhere.” With Ruthenbeck ready to continue his use of young talent in the second half of the season, the new coach expects that some of the team veterans may read the writing on the wall by the end of January and request a move.

“I can easily imagine that after the first two matches that someone or other will say, ‘I have no role here at all and want to leave,'” said Ruthenbeck according to Geissblog.com.

Five youth players — Yann Bisseck, Anas Ouahim, Chris Führich, Filip Kusic, and Birk Risa — who were pressed into service in the wake of the injuries that have plagued the club this season all took part in the conditioning testing Tuesday.  If Ruthenbeck opts to make them part of the plan going forward, a squad that was paper-thin while battling on three fronts could balloon to as many as 33 players with only the 17 Rückrunde matches to contest.

Some have postured that one such player might be Pawel Olkowski. With the return to health of several strikers, usual right-back Lukas Klünter’s emergency service attack is no longer required. Klünter’s return to the back line would displace the Polish veteran who started three Bundesliga matches in December after making just two league appearances the first 13 match days. Ruthenbeck isn’t quite as sure, though, potentially wanting to keep the option to use Klünter’s speed in attack.

Moment of Zen?

That’s all I have time for at the moment, but before you go, perhaps watch this young man build a Lego model of RheinEnergie Stadium:




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