FC Koln managed to stay in the Bundesliga last season following promotion to the German top flight and will be hoping for the same again in 2020-21. The second season is often more tricky for teams to negotiate, but manager Markus Gisdol will be hoping to beat the drop again.
The Billy Goats opted to move for Gisdol after winning just two of their first 11 games under previous boss Achim Beierlorzer. The new boss managed to turn things around and guided his team to an impressive 14th place by the end of the season.
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Starting with the 2020-21 season, anyone in the US can watch every FC Koln game live on ESPN+:
ESPN+ will have live coverage of every Bundesliga match in 20-21, as well as DFL Supercup, Bundesliga 2, Serie A, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, MLS and other live sports. It also includes every 30-for-30 documentary and additional original content (both video and written) all for $5.99 per month.
Or, if you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $12.99 per month, which works out to about 31 percent savings:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch every FC Koln match live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet. Or you can watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
FC Koln 2020-21 Preview
Yet Gisdol has problems going into their season-opener at home to Hoffenheim, particularly on the injury front. Anthony Modeste, Florian Kainz, Ismail Jakobs, and Benno Schmitz are set to miss out due to injury, according to Bild.
Attempts to strengthen the squad have also been problematic. A move for striker Streli Mamba collapsed after he failed a medical, while a deal for Dimitrios Limnios has been delayed after the Greek winger tested positive for Covid-19.
Union Berlin striker Sebastian Andersson and Hertha attacking midfielder Ondrej Duda have arrived, with Jhon Córdoba moving the other way, and will prove a much-needed boost ahead of the season start.
There is also a strong spine in the Koln squad. Goalkeeper Timo Horn, center-back Sebastian Bornauw, and captain Jonas Hector provide a good mix of youth and experience.
Teenage left-back Noah Katterbach is also a great prospect and will be hoping to nail down a regular place in the starting XI in 2020-21. The 19-year-old penned a new contract that runs until 2024 in May, and managing director Heldt Horst could not hide his delight at the news.
“We always said that players like Noah are our future and that we want to bring even more of our talents through, who have come through the academy. Noah is an example to all for this way of doing things. It is an incredibly strong signal that he wanted to stay here. Noah has a huge connection to the club and the city. We felt that in our discussion from the start. Therefore, we’re over the moon that we were able to extend his deal.”
Katterbach made 12 appearances in all competitions and looks to have a big future ahead of him at the RheinEnergie. Relegation this season would almost certainly see talented stars such as Katterbach head away from the club.
Transfer Ins and Outs
FC Koln looked to be having a quiet summer in the transfer market but have made a couple of late moves before the start of the season. Colombian forward Jhon Cordoba has left for Hertha Berlin and been replaced by Union Berlin striker Andersson.
The Swedish star scored 12 times in the first season in the Bundesliga and will boost the Koln attack. The 29-year-old is strong in the air and in the tackle and looks a good buy.
— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) September 15, 2020
FC Koln have also moved to strengthen at the back by bringing in Ron-Robert Zieler. The 31-year-old joins on loan from Hannover 96 and is back at his hometown club until the end of the season.
Heldt confirmed Zieler will be back-up initially but will give current first choice Timo Horn some competition for his place in the starting XI.
“With Ron, we have found a goalkeeper, who fits exactly in our profile. He brings the quality and the experience that we absolutely need at this position. And he is 100% ready to take on the role, which we defined together: number two, with the aim of wanting to play.”
Meanwhile, players such as Marcel Risse, Marvin Rittmüller, Kingsley Schindler, Simon Terodde, and Lasse Sobiech have all departed the RheinEnergie Stadion this summer.
Manager: Markus Gisdol
Staying up will be the priority for FC Koln, and Gisdol has previous when it comes to relegation battles. He kept Hoffenheim up in 2012-13, while last season’s 14th-place finish was impressive, particularly considering Koln were 17th when he took charge.
Koln certainly seemed impressed with the new manager’s efforts. He was handed a two-year contract extension in August, with Heldt explaining why the club have put their faith in the 51-year-old.
“Our goal is to establish FC in the Bundesliga. One of the decisive factors of that is a team which work competently and trustingly together and behind our way. This applies to Markus, and he is an important part of that,”
“He took charge of the team in an incredibly difficult situation last year. With all the challenges on the way to securing safety, he showed courage and leadership qualities – over and above, he managed to continue to develop our team, youngsters and regulars.”
Keeping the team in the German top-flight again would be some achievement for Gisdol. The team went 10 games without a win at the end of last season, and a good start to the new campaign will be needed.
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