FC Koln Season Preview: Can Koln show they deserve to be back?
Jonas Hector (Getty Images/Matthias Hangst)

FC Koln Season Preview: Can Koln show they deserve to be back?

After a shock relegation in 2018, Koln are back but can they push up the table or will it be another struggle? 

gjsportsblog
Gerry Johnston

FC Koln didn't hang about 2.Bundesliga for long. After relegation in 2017/18, Die Geißbocke managed to come straight back up as champions and they will be confident of continuing that form on their return to the Bundesliga

Transfer Business Overview

Koln has spent €18 million on six new players this summer although two of those were on free transfers. Eight players have left the club although only two of them were for a fee which recouped €6.3 million.

Sebastiaan Bornauw arrives from Anderlecht and Ellyes Skhiri has joined from Montpellier, both for €6 million. Birgir Verstraete also came in from Gent and Kingsley Ehizibue from PEC Zwolle. The free transfers to arrive are Kingsley Schindler from Holsten Kiel and Julian Krahl from RB Leipzig while Noah Katterbach and Darko Churlinov have been promoted from the second team. 

The main departure is Serhou Guirassy who has left for Amiens. Tim Handwerker and Johannes Geis have also left for Nuremberg along with Chris Fuhrich who has joined Borussia Dortmund II. Matthias Lehmann has retired while Jan-Christoph Bartels, Joao Queiros and Tomas Ostrak have left the club on loan. 

Manager

It's not often a promoted team come up with a new manager in charge. However, with just three games to go and the club on pace to win the title, they sacked Markus Antang due to a run of poor form that they felt may threaten their return to the top flight with just three games left. Koln got over the line and soon after appointed Achim Beierlorzer as their new manager. 

Beierlorzer has never managed in the top flight with his biggest jobs being a few months as interim manager at RB Leipzig whilst they were in 2.Bundesliga and two seasons in charge of Jahn Regensburg. He done well with Die Jahnelf and led them to fifth and eighth in his two seasons which earned him this opportunity. 

Player to Watch

The team gets relegated, star players leave and go to teams in the division you just got relegated from. It’s an age-old formula and nothing new in football. Jonas Hector isn’t a great believer in that notion.

The German international instead decided to sign a new contract when the team were faced with certain relegation at the end of last season and it’s the kind of thing that supporters will never forget. Hector has been at Koln since 2010 and he was already highly regarded but staying and helping them back to the top flight straight away will ensure legendary status for the left-back.

One for the Future

Spain has had a great record in underage competitions in recent years. Jorge Mere was a member of teams that won both UEFA U19 Championships and UEFA U21 Championships and he plays his club football for Koln.

Mere began at Sporting Gijon but moved to Germany in 2017 and has become a regular for the side over the last two seasons. At 22 years old he is already an excellent talent and he will be a real asset as Koln return to the top flight.

Predicted Finish

Koln were extremely disappointing in 2017/18 when they got relegated. They had finished fifth the year before and looked to be on the up before finishing rock bottom. Promotion at the first attempt was important and they should be able to push towards mid-table and not in a relegation battle this season.

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