1.FC Köln’s abysmal Hinrunde ended with the club parting company with charismatic coach and fan favourite Steffen Baumgart. The Billy Goats will now intensify the search for a new trainer to steer them in the New Year, with no shortage of names in the frame. Here we take a look at the potential candidates…
After two successful seasons at the Rhein Energie Stadion, it was a case of third time unlucky for Steffen Baumgart as the Domstadt club finished joint bottom of the table in the first half of the current campaign.
“We were very open, direct, factual and respectful in the last days and weeks, as to whether or not the strength and conviction are there in the required amount,” managing director Keller explained. “For that reason, it is to be fully respected that Steffen questioned his own personal conviction. As a result, we collectively decided to end our working relationship — even when that hurts, personally.”
With the club returning to training on 2 January in preparation for the Rückrunde, the bosses at the club are busy trying to install a new coach before then- but who?
Friedhelm Funkel, who has already had two spells in charge of the club has been ruled out/ ruled himself out with the club looking for a long-term solution rather than someone to come as a ‘firefighter. At the age of 70, Funkel doesn’t fit the brief. There are plenty of others however that do.
The names of the currently unemployed Thomas Reis, Heiko Herrlich and Enrico Maaßen as well as the internal candidates Evangelos Sbonias (Cologne II) and Stefan Ruthenbeck (U19) have all been linked with the job in the past days.
In addition the rumour mill has also thrown up the names of André Breitenreiter (most recently Hoffenheim), Ralph Hasenhüttl (most recently Southampton), Bo Svensson (most recently Mainz) and Stefan Kuntz (most recently Turkey).
With the club floundering at the bottom of the table and with CAS upholding the club’s transfer ban, the task ahead of any potential new trainer is a tough one. The successful candidate will have a real rescue mission to pull off, and will have to do so with one hand tied behind his back.
The clock is ticking.