News : 1. FC Köln: Friedhelm Funkel back in the fire service – sport


News : 1. FC Köln: Friedhelm Funkel back in the fire service – sport

The message came from the Geißbockheim shortly before midnight, but 1. FC Cologne could no longer surprise its audience. The news of Markus Gisdol’s dismissal had already reached the public hours before from numerous well-informed circles. Basically, however, the FC fans did not need either official or unofficial sources to find out about the head coach’s lot.

It was enough to capture the blank stare with which Gisdol conducted the television interviews and the press conference. It was the expression of a man who knew his fate. His resistance to the inevitable end was only of a rhetorical nature. Does a team like that play that has given up hope? He asked the group without waiting for an answer.

Some Cologne players seem like after a knockout

The team of 1. FC Köln did not play like a hopeless case in the unfortunate 2: 3 against Mainz 05, but highly committed and courageous, but the reactions to the defeat suffered in stoppage time had looked as if those involved were already the final Would feel knockout. The image of Jonas Hector, who sat on the floor in mourning for more than four minutes after the final whistle, had a symbolic effect.

The Mainz-based Danny da Costa, who sat down like a pastor at the side of the Cologne captain, was encouraged. It was a fine human gesture, but precisely that motive of melancholy and resignation that drove the panicked feelings of those responsible even higher. Horst Heldt, the manager, was not available for interviews. It was clear what that meant.

The association’s announcement said that Gisdol’s successor would be “informed promptly”. The followers quickly found out more from the daily press. Accordingly, manager Horst Heldt called a well-known firefighter in Krefeld around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday evening, Friedhelm Funkel was happy to take the phone call at a later hour. On Monday afternoon he was already sitting at Heldt’s side in the Geißbockheim and spreading the optimistic slogans with which he had outfitted his more than 30-year coaching career. He also made a stop in Cologne, in 2003 he helped the club move up from the second division. Now he should avert the seventh relegation in the club’s history, that will “not be easy, but also not impossible,” said Funkel, while Heldt raved about the tremendous experience of the six-week helper and about the “new input” he has to offer have. He looked quite strained.

The city had known for weeks that sparkle was available as an emergency solution. The 67-year-old coach had already retired after Fortuna Düsseldorf kicked him out in January of last year, but a few months later he became bored of being a pensioner. The pandemic is to blame. Funkel had planned trips around the world, ski tours and tennis tournaments, instead he had to stay at home without doing anything.

The Mainz team was carried away by the confidence that the series of successes gave them during the second half of the season

Leandro Barreiro from Mainz ensured on Sunday evening that Funkel has something exciting to do again. In the 91st minute he completed a Mainz counterattack with an 18-meter shot that could not have landed a millimeter more precisely in the corner. This goal to make it 3-2 was not undeserved, but at least a tremendous stroke of luck, as Mainz coach Bo Svensson correctly pointed out.

The hard-working midfielder Barreiro had given far better chances both on Sunday evening and in the past few weeks, his pinpoint winning goal now illustrated the mental difference that existed between the Rhenish opponents. Cologne had given up all their passion for the home win that was demanded by everyone and ultimately lost their head and defensive order, the Mainz team let themselves be carried by the confidence that the series of successes gave them during the second half of the season.

Premier League - Sheffield United v Arsenal

Symbol of a football city on the ground: Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn.

(Photo: Federico Gambarini / Reuters)

They kept calm and showed cleverness and class in the decisive moments. The Cologne euphoria after Ellyes Skhiri’s turning goal to make it 2-1 in the 61st minute destroyed the 05er barely four minutes later when Karim Onisiwos equalized. Marius Wolf was the symbolic godfather. In the over-zeal of his unconditional will, the player, who was positioned at the back right after the break, had pushed forward and thereby exposed the defensive side.

The fact that Svensson decidedly critical of the performance of his team was based more on strategic considerations. With 21 points, Mainz are in fifth place in the second half of the table. Now that the rescue is within reach, the clever trainer believes that greater caution is required. With a performance like this you will “not get a lot of points,” he warned.

Some facts clearly spoke against Gisdol

Two months ago the Cologne team was eight points ahead of the supposedly knocked-off penultimate Mainz 05, now they are penultimate themselves, three points behind. These facts spoke against Gisdol. Heldt praised the team that they “performed well again”. But the lack of points force action.

The stupid but undeniable power of the factual costs the coach the job, although the positive playful trend of the recent encounters is not disputed by anyone, not even by Funkel: The team “played really well” and “they worked well” he compliments the predecessor. During the introduction of his successor, he said goodbye to the team that he would have loved to continue to look after. The return of the long-injured center forward Sebastian Andersson would have made Gisdol’s work a little easier. Another person now benefits from the urgently wanted center forward. “Andersson is a very important factor,” said Funkel. “The offensive game was better with him.”


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