Maxi Thiel: Young, Talented, and Excited to be Here

Maxi Thiel inked a three-year deal with 1. FC Köln upon a transfer from SV Wacker Burghausen, the Monday announcement of which made him the first new player to join the club for the 2013-14 season just hours before the first training session of the year was to begin.

While much of the day’s chatter around the Effzeh targeted the three-week-old vacancy at head coach, the ongoing negotiations with FK Austria Wien to gain the release of their head man Peter Stöger who is eager to fill the job opening, and the ultimately comedic appearance of a nine-man training session, the arrival of the 20-year-old attacking midfielder has the potential to be an exciting addition for Geißbock fans.

…once they can stop worrying about the coaching situation, that is.

He wears the jersey well!

Thiel’s ten goals for Wacker Burghausen last season was more than twice the total of SVW’s next-leading goal scorer, helping his club finish eighth in 3. Liga. Despite his youth, Thiel had already logged 76 league matches with the SVW professionals.

He also got a taste of DFB-Cup action last season in a 0:1 loss to his new club’s rival Fortuna Düsseldorf.

In his first interview with after joining the club, Thiel spoke of his left foot, “which is already known at least in the vicinity of Bavaria.”

My left foot.

With the left wing being where Thiel says he feels most “at home,” talk of a dangerous left foot within…oh…say 100 kilometers of RheinEnergieStadion, will automatically trigger thoughts of Köln’s most beloved son among current footballers: Lukas Podolski.

Despite leaving for London and Arsenal last summer, Podolski retains a high approval level among Effzeh fans, remembered fondly for his left foot that was raised locally to national prominence, the sort of which never translated into similar heights for the club on the whole, if largely because the club seemed too eager to place every gram of their hopes and dreams on that skilled left foot of the man they call “Prinz.”

Of course, Thiel arrives as an outsider unlikely to be saddled with the same expectations put on Podolski, but that won’t keep people from watching video of Thiel scoring gorgeous goals with his own left foot and wanting to dream.

Having learned my lesson last year when I got mega-excited about Sascha Bigalke before it turned out he would be relegated to the bench for most of the season, I’m going to wait to see what he does in some league matches before I get too carried away with a few highlights from action in the third league.

However, the excitement he shows for having joined the club was a bright spot on a day full of otherwise-cloudy Effzeh-centered news and discussion.

Asked for his reaction when he first learned of 1. FC Köln’s interest in his services, he smiled and said he was ready to go to Köln immediately. When the interviewer pressed for details on such an enthusiastic response, he replied, “Because it’s a cool club and because there is crazy fan support here.”

“For me, there is nothing better than playing for (the Effzeh.)”

Granted, I, too, would be excited to be brought to Köln and to play for the club, I’ll conservatively say only that I have a lot less to offer on the field than does Thiel.

…Though, if Jörg Jakobs is reading this, let me tell you, I’d be one HELL of an addition to the club. You’d certainly get some press out of it. Plus, I work pretty cheap. Call me!…

Thiel continued in his interview to say a lot of the right things, speaking of his being ready to take the next step in his career, how it was an honor for him to pursue his goals as part of 1. FC Köln, and, of course, aspirations of playing near the top of the table next season and  perhaps even achieving promotion.

But first, let’s let the kid settle in, find his way around town, and focus on living his stated personal motto: “Always be happy, always look forward, and always make the best of everything.”

Then, once he’s had a chance to visit the Dom, sample (but only SAMPLE) the Kölsch, and start making peace with needing to dress up for Karneval, maybe we start to publicly put the unreasonable expectations of a left-footed attacker and the comparisons to Podolski in front of him.

Hey Maxi, Herzlich Willkommen…but here’s your future: costumes and comparisons to an all-time great and favorite son. Enjoy!

I mean, after all, it is Köln. “Crazy” is just the tip of the Narrenkappe, young man!

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