Amongst the Bundesliga coaching fraternity, it is safe to say that 1FC Köln trainer Steffen Baumgart (he of the famous flat cap) is a character not happy to churn out a series of cliches and set answers handed to him by the media team. When asked a question the Geißbock coach speaks his mind. This was in full effect yesterday when news broke of Anthony Modeste’s imminent move to Borussia Dortmund.
With the news emerging just hours before Köln’s Bundesliga opener on Sunday at home to promoted Schalke, the annoyance felt by Baumgart was palpable when he spoke after their 3-1 win at the RheinEnergie Stadion.
“Unfortunately, that’s part of our business,” Baumgart told German streaming service DAZN after the game, “There are always clubs bigger than us that can pay more.
“Everyone can understand that the timing was pretty dubious for us,” he added, “It doesn’t leak out Friday and Saturday, but right before we have an important game to play. That pisses me off. Something comes out and it’s not from us. It doesn’t matter who’s talking this shit then. Four hours before the game, it puts us in a difficult situation.
Modeste was dropped from the matchday squad with 24-year-old Florian Dietz thrust into the starting line-up at the last minute for his Bundesliga debut.
“It’s a matter of fair play,” Baumgart added with increasing annoyance, “You keep it under wraps and don’t go popping your mouth off. That really rubs me the wrong way. In my role as a coach, you can imagine that I’m getting my ass handed to me. I have a good relationship with Tony, but I still have to make a decision.
“I find it hard to ask a player who wants to go in a different direction to play another game. I didn’t talk to him as I wasn’t in a good mood. He has to accept that. I’ll talk to him tomorrow.”
That chat will be one where he says farewell to his star striker, and although acknowledging his quality, Baumgart was quick to stress that: “we won’t be grieving for too long”.
Straight talking at it’s best from Steffen Baumgart.