Multiple outlets (SportBILD, Kicker, and our guys Geissblog.Koeln among them) are reporting that 1. FC Köln trailer Peter Stöger may sign a two-year contract extension this week. The Austrian coach’s current deal is set to expire in 2017.
Stöger arrived from FK Austria Wien before the 2013-14 season, fresh off an Austrian Bundesliga title, and immediately led the FC to promotion from the 2.Bundesliga. Last season, he helped the club establish itself as a solid Bundesliga presence rather than scuffling through the year as a relegation candidate as is normally expected of newly promoted clubs. Midway through the third year of his Köln tenure, his club is again enjoying a comfortably points-padding above the bottom three and has fans looking more toward the upper reaches of the table than downward.
Perhaps even more-notable than the quantifiable on-pitch success, however, is Stöger’s level demeanor and the influence it has had on the entire club culture. Normally the home of regular episodes of high drama away from the playing surface, the 1. FC Köln has settled into a relatively “boring” existence, allowing for the focus to remain on the football. The Austrian’s calming effect has quickly made fans of many around the Cathedral City. Legendary goalkeeper and current club vice-president Toni Schumacher is so enamored of Stöger’s work that he has publicly voiced his wish that the coach become the “Kölsch Arsene Wenger,” referring to the Frenchman’s extended run on the touch line at Arsenal, which began in 1996.
Well before Stöger threatens Wenger’s nearly 20 years in London, though, he can become the effzeh‘s longest-tenured coach in the last 30 years even before the end of the reported extension. Christoph Daum currently holds the honor from his first stint in Köln, which ran from 1986 to 1990.
Stöger is in no hurry to compare himself to Daum, who left the club after a series of somewhat-successful trips to the UEFA Cup, the last of which ended in a semifinal loss to Juventus Turin. For that matter, Stöger, as can be expected of his stoic demeanor, is in no apparent hurry to do much of anything, including rushing to sign a deal. The man is content with his current situation and displays confidence that things will work out, rather than fear the uncertainty of the future.
“I need not say that I am comfortable here, that I am happy to work in this club and with this team,” says Stöger about the oft-discussed matter of a contract extension. “I have already said it 100 times.”
Words are one thing, but it’s the ink that matters here. Geissblog.Koeln‘s Marc L. Merten reports that the deal could be finalized and announced as part of Thursday’s pre-match press conference before Saturday’s return to action at home against VfB Stuttgart. Merten says the parties have already agreed to making the deal happen, with formal details being ironed out between Stöger, Jörg Schmadtke, and club business manager Alexander Wehrle.
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