Posts Tagged ‘FC Koln’

The relegation battle will reach an epic climax this weekend, with two teams fighting to avoid the automatic drop.

Hertha Berlin are at home to Hoffenheim, and it is literally a must win game, anything else and they will be on their way to 2. Bundesliga.

FC Koln, meanwhile, face the daunting task of welcoming Bayern Munich to the RheinEnergieStadion. They can afford to draw, or even lose, but must hope that Hertha do the same.

The chances of Koln getting something from the game, however, look slim; they have the league’s worst defence, while Bayern have the second best attack.

Hertha, meanwhile, will be slightly more confident of getting the necessary win against mid-table Hoffenheim, although their home form has let them down this season: three wins, three draws and 10 defeats. Markus Babbel’s side, by contrast, have picked up twenty points on their travels this season, the 7th best record in the league.

The fact that these two sides are struggling will come as a surprise to anyone who was only watching before the winter break.

After the first 17 games of the season, Koln were 10th with Hertha in 11th, having picked up 21 and 20 points respectively. In their last 16 games, The Billy Goats have managed nine points, The Old Lady just eight.

Form suggests neither side will win, which would mean relegation for Hertha. History seemingly can’t pick between the two: the Berlin side were only promoted last year; Koln have been relegated three times in the last decade. 

Die Alte Dame slipped into the 17th position they currently occupy after matchday 26, following a 6-0 defeat to Bayern. Die Geißböcke first occupied 16th after matchday 28. Neither has moved since. In fact, since Hertha’s fall into the relegation zone, they have managed only one win between them.

Koln could be helped by the fact that Bayern will be focusing on their two upcoming cup finals, although Hoffenheim don’t exactly have much to play for either. It’s down to the wire, and it certainly looks too close to call.

Allan Edgar, of Bundesliga Football, did give us his prediction however. He said: “Köln to me are likely to be automatically relegated – they have been in freefall and not even the outgoing Lukas Podolski will be able to save them it seems. Hertha Berlin I consider to have enough in their arsenal to fight the drop. If they finish in the play-off spot I would envisage them seeing off the challengers from 2. Bundesliga.”

Podolski: Gonna be a Gunner?

Lukas Podolski is all set to leave the comforts of Koln for life in London this summer.

If reports are to be believed, then Podolski will join Arsenal for approximately £10.9m and £100k+ per week.

The big question is not necessarily whether he can cut it in the Premier League, but whether he can cut it at any club that isn’t FC Koln.

This is because a move to Arsenal won’t be the first time ‘Poldi’ has moved to a ‘big’ club; they won’t even be the biggest side he has left Koln for.

In 2006, following Die Geißböcke’s relegation to 2.Bundesliga, the frontman moved to Bayern Munich in a deal reportedly worth €10m.

At the same time, he was bursting on to the international scene, with some standout performances at the 2006 World Cup – including thee goals – helping Germany to third place and himself to the Best Young Player award.

While many struggle to replicate their club form for their country, it was the opposite for Podolski, as he failed to repeat his efforts for Germany in the colours of Munich.

Despite his poor form with Bayern, he continued with his contrasting performance for the national side. Germany finished as runners-up at Euro 2008, with Podolski scoring three goals for the second major tournament in a row, and being named in the 23-man squad of the tournament.

His three-season stint in Bavaria ended with a very poor return of 26 goals in 106 games in all competitions (15 in 71 in the Bundesliga), and he moved back to Koln for a similar fee to the one they originally sold him for.

His move back to Koln should have been the return of the king, but in his first season it was more like the clown prince than Prinz Poldi (as he is known in Cologne) as he scored just three goals in the entire season.

Despite that, he was still selected for Joachim Löw’s 2010 World Cup squad, scoring two goals from his now familiar position on the left to help Germany reach the semi-finals.

Since then, though, he has looked better than ever, and is currently enjoying his best season in the Bundesliga. He so far has 16 goals, which is his highest tally, and one that will surely be added to.

At 26, he is at somewhat of a crossroads. He is, domestically, in the form of his life, but at international level his place has perhaps never been under greater threat – such is the rise to prominence of the likes of Mario Götze and Marco Reus.

A move to Arsenal will give him the chance to prove the doubters wrong, that he can do it not only outside of Cologne but outside of Germany as well. And it could just be the thing that keeps him ahead in the national team pecking order.

He will fit well into Arsenal’s system, presumably playing on the left of the two or three behind Robin van Persie (if he stays), in the role that has been occupied by Gervinho this season.

He certainly has the ability to succeed. Whether he does or not will all come down to his mentality. He’s shown signs of maturing this season; next year will be the time for him to prove it.

“Poldi can lack tactical discipline and is used to being number one at Cologne. If he can settle in North London, accept that he is a cog in a larger wheel and do as he is told then he has the ability to make a significant contribution to the Arsenal team.” Terry Duffelen, German football blogger and co-host of the podcast Bundesliga Show. Twitter: @bundesbag.

The video below shows Arsenal fans exactly what they’ll be getting: