The 1. FC Köln made team captain Matthias Lehmann available to media members Monday.
Planet Effzeh, regrettably, could not attend. Fortunately, Geissblog.Koeln could and provided video and quotes we are able to relate to our audiece through the magical filter of (admittedly amateur) translation.
On the short preparation time before the season’s second half . . .
We have worked well, prepared ourselves well. Now it’s down to the finishing touches which we will use against Stuttgart to keep the three points in Köln. The winter break was like a big bout of the flu, like, as if you were sick for ten days. It was short and sweet. Some would prefer more vacation; others prefer less. Mentally, it’s definitely good to switch off and get away, but the English show us a different way. I personally wouldn’t find it so bad if we just played through.
On the 0:1 test-match loss over the weekend . . .
That was not a good game in Mainz. It was not how we set out to play and not how we aspire to play. You could see that a few percent still are lacking. But, better a complete flop in a rehearsal than in the match against VfB.
On goals for the season’s second half . . .
We collectively analyzed the first half. The conclusion was determined quickly: that against teams at the same eye-level as us, we left too many points on the table. We intend on taking more in the coming round.
On Saturday’s opponent, VfB Stuttgart . . .
Stuttgart has quality. but for us it comes down to leveraging our strengths. The first-round meeting was not really good from us. We were ice cold in front of goal, but were otherwise under enormous pressure. Their pressing caused us problems. Now a new coach is there, and we will prepare ourselves for what is coming our way. For us, it’s important that we leave a team that is at our own eye-level even further behind us and build on our advantage.
On the many prestigious clubs in the relegation fight . . .
With Stuttgart, for example, you have to just shake your head. It was quite bitter how things went for VfB in the first round. Then there are teams like Ingolstadt and Darmstadt, for which nobody had accounted. Such an array of big names in the table basement can happen if you don’t give 110 percent to every league match.
On the officiating issues of the first half of the season . . .
There will never be another word wasted on it. We’ve let it irritate us enough, perhaps even a smidge too much. We want to provide the officials as few reasons as possible, rather just send the ball directly in. Then, everything is well.
On the integration of newcomer Filip Mladenovic into the team . . .
That’s been absolutely no problem. Filip also has it easy due to Milos (Jojic, fellow Serbian). He is currently living with him. For a fellow countryman, it is worth gold to have someone there who speaks the same language. It makes things considerably easier. Though, he also speaks English quite well; you can converse with him quite well.