FC without fear against Stuttgart and Leverkusen

First the setback, now the top teams: Despite the Bremen bankruptcy, 1. FC Köln wants to “play to win” in Stuttgart and against Leverkusen.

From the reactions and the volume of the south curve after the 0-1 against Werder Bremen, it was once again impossible to tell that 1. FC Köln had just lost an important Bundesliga game. The fans also sang for their defeated Billy Goats. The motto: It must continue.

However, looking ahead isn’t really fun. With the away game at VfB Stuttgart and the subsequent duel with Bayer Leverkusen, tasks now await in which a success for FC would be a big surprise, if not a sensation.

Kainz: “Always difficult weeks”

VfB got a perfect twelve points from the last four games and scored 13 goals. And Leverkusen is still unbeaten in all competitions this season. Timo Schultz still announces: “We will approach the next two games in such a way that we play to win.”

The FC coach’s only option is to flee forward. Before the international break in March, the Cologne team will also play in the derby in Mönchengladbach and at home against the Champions League round of 16 RB Leipzig. These are probably the toughest weeks of the season, especially after the setback against Bremen – in which FC has to keep Mainz, who are seventeenth in the table, in check.

“It’s always difficult weeks in the situation we’re in,” says captain Florian Kainz and announces before Saturday’s trip to Swabia: “We won’t go there and be afraid.” Marvin Schwäbe even says: “Basically you have to say that we had our chances against every opponent.”

FC without courage and conviction despite an upward trend

This is just as courageous a statement as Schultz’s: “I am convinced that we can win every game – no matter the opponent.” As is well known, the table conveys something different. But the Cologne coach hopes that his team will play more freely as outsiders: “Maybe it’s good for the team that they’re going into these games as underdogs. And not like against Bremen, where everyone felt like they expected the points to stay here must – against an opponent who really played a very good role after the winter.”

What is puzzling is that FC had actually played a better role recently and remained unbeaten three times for the first time since May 2023, but was unable to continue its upward trend against Bremen. Schultz lacked, among other things, “courage and conviction.” Why? That is a “good question”. The 46-year-old doesn’t have any advice himself.

However, his declarations of war on Stuttgart and Leverkusen are all the more courageous: “We have a long week to prepare for this and will certainly come up with a plan so that we can be competitive in the two games.”

Schultz will initially have to do without Faride Alidou, who withdrew due to illness before the home game against Bremen. The FC hopes to return during the training week, which continues with a double shift on Tuesday before Schultz gives Wednesday off.