Faride Alidou would have been happy to forego this confrontation. When leaving the Geißbockheim, the offensive player, who was on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, was asked by a 1. FC Köln fan to stay in the cathedral city despite the seventh relegation from the Bundesliga. “It would be cool if you stopped making unnecessary comments,” Alidou replied, waved him off and walked away. It is unclear whether the club will use the purchase option for the 22-year-old, which according to media reports should be around four million euros.

“Let’s just do it”

The frustration among players, those in charge and fans is deep, and the list of problems is long. Sports director Christian Keller asked for time immediately after the 4-1 defeat at 1. FC Heidenheim. “Let’s just do it. This just hurts now,” he said. He didn’t want to talk about the future of coach Timo Schultz, nor about that of the professionals or his own. “I’m here,” he said, and when asked whether his whereabouts were certain, he added: “I assume so.” The analysis with all those involved should begin in the coming days with open and constructive discussions.

The 47-year-old is not blameless for his relegation. Keller underestimated the free transfer losses of former captain Jonas Hector and midfield top performer Ellyes Skhiri. The implementation of the specified austerity measures brought him a lot of criticism and ultimately pushed the club into the second division. Although he is not responsible for the fact that three of Cologne’s top offensive players, Luca Waldschmidt, Mark Uth and Davie Selke, were unavailable due to injuries.

Despite criticism of his work, Keller would like to continue to push ahead with economic consolidation – despite the expected drop in sales. “We will also be in a position in the 2nd league to cover the pending liabilities that were accumulated during the pandemic and the maturities, especially the fan bond from 2016 and the state guarantee, which has to be repaid by another quarter. to use,” said Keller.

Podolski calls for changes

There was sharp criticism of those responsible from club legend Lukas Podolski, who called for personnel and structural consequences in the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”. “There is a lot of frustration now, some people will only really realize what happened in the coming days. And there are many questions: Will those responsible stay? Should and can they stay at all?” said the 2014 world champion.

The 38-year-old was primarily in favor of structural changes: “There are simply too many people at FC who have a say in decisions. People who have little or no knowledge of professional football. FC would rather need a small group of maybe three or four people, who make smart decisions quickly and efficiently,” said Podolski. “Of course things can’t go on like this. Something has to change.”

The 130-time national player left it open whether he would be available as a helper. “My willingness would certainly be greater if I had been wanted and allowed earlier. But in the past my help was not wanted much. I can only guess what the reasons were: envy? Resentment? The fear that I could be the person responsible “Take the sun and put it in the shade?” said the attacker, who is currently active with Gornik Zabrze in the Polish league.

Transfer ban weighs heavily

However, the transfer ban imposed by FIFA is particularly serious. Because the sanction – only players who have been loaned out can be brought back – also applies in the coming summer. “It’s just an extremely difficult situation when you don’t know what squad you have available,” said Austrian Florian Kainz, who is leaving his future open for now. “I have a contract for the 2nd league, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens when I’m called up for the national team. We’ll see everything else, I haven’t thought about it yet.”

At least the loaned players Jonas Urbig, Tim Lemperle, who had a good season at Greuther Fürth, as well as Mathias Oelsen, Nikola Soldo and Marvin Obuz from the 2nd and 3rd leagues will return.

First of all, however, the lost credit with the fans must be regained. On Saturday they shouted angrily: “We are Cologne residents and you are not.” Those responsible are facing major challenges – this time the direct return to the Bundesliga will probably be more difficult than ever before.