News : New coach: Friedhelm Funkel is supposed to save 1. FC Köln – 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 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.
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 at the last minute had looked as if those involved already considered them would feel a final 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 Heldt had called a well-known firefighter in Krefeld around 9:30 on Sunday evening, Friedhelm Funkel was happy to take the phone call late at night. “It looks good that we can do it. I know the task will be demanding,” said the 67-year-old express.
He evidently saw no reason to restraint, Gisdol’s leave of absence freed him from decency and confidentiality. However, it has been no secret in Cologne for weeks that it was available as an emergency solution. Although Funkel had already said goodbye to retirement after Fortuna Düsseldorf kicked him out in January of last year, he has since become bored with being a pensioner.
The pandemic is to blame. Funkel had planned world trips, ski tours and tennis tournaments, instead he had to stay at home without doing anything. In the morning, the FC confirmed that the experienced foreman will return to the club that he helped advance from the second division in 2003.
Leandro Barreiro from Mainz ensured that Funkel found something exciting to do again on Sunday evening. 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. The Cologne team had given up all their passion for the home win that was demanded by everyone and lost their head in the end, the Mainz team let themselves be carried by the trust that the series of successes gave them during the second half of the season.
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 right winger had rushed forward and thereby exposed the defensive side.
The fact that Svensson was 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.
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 clearly speak against Gisdol. Heldt was reported in the press release that they had “performed well again”. But the points did not materialize again.
The stupid but undeniable power of the factual costs the coach the job, although no one disputes the positive playful trend of recent encounters. Gisdol also referred to the gain from the recovered long-term injuries Sebastian Andersson and Florian Kainz, “They did us good,” said the coach. It was the last statement in his almost one and a half year term in office. The successor Funkel now benefits from the urgently wanted center forward Andersson.