Having once been relegated with the club through which he became a German international and eventually a World Champion, German footballing legend Lukas Podolski can always be relied upon to remain candid when it comes to discussing 1. FC Köln. When his beloved Effzeh last faced a tough relegation fight three years ago, the 130-times-capped German international complained that the club at which he remained a proud member had definitely lost its way.READ MORE
For a time it seemed that Germany’s cathedral city side – back in the top flight since the 2019/20 season – had firmly entrenched itself back in Germany’s top flight football division. The team even finished high enough in the table during Steffen Baumgart’s rookie season in the 2021/22 campaign to qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League last season.
Now, under the spendthrift policies of chief sporting personnel executive Christian Keller (whose caution did not extend to an irresponsible recruitment effort that left Köln strangled by an iron-clad transfer ban for the next two years), many in German footballing circles are already thinking about a stay in the 3. Liga for one of the Bundesrepublik’s great footballing cities.
Speaking at a Monday charity event, Podolski was more circumspect in his words than he was nearly three years ago. The now 38-year-old – still active as a professional in Poland – deflected questions about the team’s play in Saturday’s much-needed 2-0 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Podolski even shied away from praising the youth after admitting he maintained some respect for young makeshift left-back Max Finkgräfe.