Peter Stöger’s public displeasure with his team’s overall performance in the 4:0 win at SV Meppen last weekend had many pondering what changes to the team might be seen when the 1. FC Köln line up against VfB Stuttgart to start their Bundesliga campaign.
The coach’s evaluation seems to have been intended to motivate his players during mid-week training.
And, according to Stöger, he got precisely the reaction he was looking for.
“It may be that it would have happened anyway, but it was easy to see that everyone is more focussed, more concentrated in their work,” said the coach of the training sessions that followed his criticisms.
Then end result of seeing the effort he had hoped to see is that he has taken the same 18 players to Stuttgart as he did to Meppen. While this does not preclude changes to the starting eleven, it certainly leaves open the possibility that the same team takes the pitch Sunday.
That leaves Slawomir Peszko as the lone man with a change in status from last week. Peszko was left behind for the DFB Cup match due to his being suspended for the competition due to the red card he collected at MSV Duisburg in the second round of last year’s tournament. The left midfielder’s exclusion this week means that he was unable to perform his way into the squad, despite being eligible.
Staying behind in Köln with Peszko are midfielder Kazuki Nagasawa and striker Bård Finne, both victims of crowded competition at their positions.
Mergim Mavraj and Dominic Maroh remain unavailable due to injury.
The 18 players making the trip south: