It's impossible to tell what's going to happen pearl. He was dreadful at Cologne this season. It might be good, might be bad.http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/may/07/koln-raphael-honigstein
Black cloud over Köln as the shambolic club goes down in smoke
Poor performances from the boardroom, the managers and team have seen the club relegated for the fifth time in 15 years
The RheinEnergie Stadion was on fire on Saturday but not in a good way. Thick plumes of smoke engulfed the pitch by the time the frightened referee blew a premature whistle, ushering the players into the tunnel. Only the disconsolate keeper Michael Rensing and Lukas Podolski took their time coming off, while a few dozen police in riot gear sought to fight back a pitch invasion. In his wisdom, the stadium DJ blasted out local carnival classics over the loudspeaker in an attempt to drown out the protest. The disconnect between the cheerful sounds and the apocalyptic scenes was reminiscent of Clockwork Orange, the difference being that this violence was not directed at others. The black clouds from the smoke bombs were symbolic to the point of being naff: Köln imploded as a result of self-inflicted damage.
The Billy Goats are relegated after losing 4-1 to Bayern, it's their fifth drop in 15 years. For the Arsenal-bound Podolski, who had been sent off with predictable pathos before the match, it's the most unwanted of hat-tricks: the man they call Prinz has been relegated three times with Germany's most enduringly shambolic club. "He goes, the chaos stays," wrote Welt.
"It's so unnecessary, we had the type of players to stay up," said the caretaker manager Frank Schaefer, who will continue to work in a different capacity. He's right but only to a point: the players were perhaps decent enough but the team and the club certainly were not. "We have to admit that our performances on and off the pitch have been worthy of the second division," said CEO Claus Horstmann, a tad generously. "We were never able to install a proper, competent duo of manager and sporting director."
Instead, they had Stale Solbakken, the Norwegian manager who tried to get by with an experimental, radical zonal marking system (no doubling up, no defensive movement between the lines) all over the pitch but treated fitness as a mere afterthought. As a result Köln often defended decently enough and got by if and when the talismanic Podolski pounced but would usually fall apart with the first conceded goal. They conceded a whopping 75 goals in 34 games, enough to last other sides three whole seasons.
Solbakken was barely on speaking terms with sporting director, Volker Finke, by the winter break when Finke bought in the North Korean striker Chong Tese. The sporting director was fired in a last-ditch attempt to strengthen Solbakken's position but the club, as is so often the case, backed the wrong horse: the former Copenhagen coach limped on until Schaefer came in with four games to go. The 49-year-old inherited "the ruins of team: tactically broke, physically uncompetitive, completely at loggerheads with each other" according to Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. Schaefer picked up one more point.
The squad, randomly put together by a myriad of people over the course of the last couple of years, didn't seem to understand the magnitude of the crisis. A tipsy Miso Brecko drove his car on to the tracks of a tram. An even tipsier Slawomir Peszko got into a late-night argument with a taxi driver and ended up in police custody. Kevin Pezzoni had his nose broken by an mysterious carnival reveller for reasons yet unknown.
Upstairs, there was the usual incompetence, only more of it than usual. In November, president Wolfgang Overath, a local legend who stood for the glory days but did little of use, resigned. Various factions fought for control in the ensuing months. A couple of weeks ago, a new board with the president, Werner Spinner, and the vice?president, Harald "Toni" Schumacher, was eventually voted in but they find themselves in the second division, without a manager and in all likelihood with only half a team: Rensing, Sascha Riether, Pedro Geromel and Martin Lanig will have to be sold to ease the debt burden. "It's silly to believe that relegation will be panacea for redemption and restoration," wrote Süddeutsche Zeitung. "This is a relegation without a guaranteed return ticket."
Problems with the fan base exacerbate the existential crisis. The stadium skirmishes showed that the supporters have become blind with rage. Earlier in the season, a bus full of Gladbach supporters was chased down by brick-throwing hooligans on the autobahn; on Saturday, an angry, drunken mob came to the house of captain Geromel in the middle of the night and demanded to speak their minds. "What happened after the game is unacceptable," said Spinner, "the bleakness of this Black Sunday will be hard to stomach."
The German FA is looking into the crowd trouble. A game behind closed doors is a realistic possibility.
"This is the worst moment in my career," said a tearful Podolski. "With so many defeats and goals conceded, we didn't deserve to stay up." The extensive farewell festivities before the club's must-win game were a typical example of Colonia-ism, a slightly deranged, sentimental belief in their own eternal greatness, coupled with groundless heaps of optimism. "First they sing, then they lock arms and sway around, then they cry a bit and in the end, the team's supposed to play Bayern off the park," wrote Stadt-Anzeiger.
"Well, that didn't work. [The Podolski sending-off] showed the club in all its good-hearted but bottomless naivety." That naivety, a sense of "this can't happen to us, we are Köln" will have contributed to a sense of shock so keenly felt that a bit of mindless vandalism suddenly looked an appealing option. Total helplessness in the stands temporarily gave way to a bit of action — at least, they were doing something. Even if that particular something was football's equivalent of throwing a massive, hysterical tantrum.
"Farewell, Poldi," read a supporters' melancholic banner. "If we could, we'd leave, too."