On Friday, Daniel Halfar lined up on the right flank as the starter for 1. FC Kaiserslautern. The former effzeh regular quickly put his mark on the match, snatching possession away from MSV Duisburg near midfield and starting a quick counterattack that ended with Kacper Przybylko, another former Kölner, drilling the first goal of the second-division season into the top of the net.
In the wake of Halfar’s quick start in his return to the second division, it has come to light that Peter Stöger had sent an apology to Halfar, after his once-regular left midfielder left Köln in search of regular playing time, returning to the club where he first became a professional.
“After his transfer, I sent him a text message written along the lines of ‘Somehow, I did not manage to get everything from you,” the effzeh coach told Bild. “For that, I am sorry. I have my fingers crossed for him; he is more than a second-league player.”
It’s not common to hear a professional coach be so frank in admitting their own shortcomings, but Stöger was comfortable saying, “I don’t consider myself so good that I do everything right.”
With 142 appearances in Germany’s second division to his credit, Halfar is one of the second division’s most-veteran players.
Halfar was, without question, very instrumental for 1. FC Köln as they won the 2013-14 2. Bundesliga and securing a return to the top flight. He tallied three goals and seven assists, missing only the season finale.
Last year, Halfar began the season as the midfield starter on the left flank, but never really found the same rhythm he had the year before, particularly as the team doubled-down on the defensive efforts that got them into the Bundesliga in order to help the club stay there.
By season’s end, it was clear Halfar was considered no better than a second-choice, with left- and attacking-midfield two slots to be addressed in the transfer window. With the writing on the wall, Halfar sought his next career step elsewhere and landed in Kaiserslautern.
For his part, Halfar seems to appreciate the words of his former coach.
“This is, to a certain degree, a bit of recognition.”