"Taking a look at the table, one could be fooled into believing this will be the easiest game of the first round in the league," commented VfL head-coach Martin Schmidt at the pre-match press conference ahead clash with bottom-of-the-table 1. FC Köln on Saturday, December 16th (kick-off 15:30 CET). But in spite of the home side’s current standing in the Bundesliga, the VfL coach was quick to warn of the challenge posed by the 'Domstädter': "Anyone who know football, knows just how difficult this game will be. Especially in their own stadium, against a team going through a lot of changes. That’s why we must be prepared for every eventuality."
Goal: "Three points"
Despite their precarious personnel situation, Schmidt is expecting to be faced by a Cologne eleven, who will play to their strengths. Most recently, new FC coach Stefan Ruthenbeck was forced to juggle his squad due to the high number of injury-related absentees. "In Klünter, Clemens and Guirassy, if he is available, they have players who are very quick on the break. We also know that their defensive order and attitude is correct." But for all the respect afforded to this weekend’s opponents, the VfL coach was very clear in explaining his expectations from his side: "Each of our players is going about this game with the clear goal of taking all three points back from Cologne." To do so, it will be up to the Wolves to play to their strengths and pick up where they left off in recent performances. "If you look at the table, you will see that we’ve taken points from all the top teams. For that reason, the draw against a side like Leipzig is good for our self-confidence. The chance is always there to make the next move towards a safe mid-table position with a win."
Tisserand an option
Whilst Gian-Luca Itter was merely up to some light jogging yesterday and today, Marcel Tisserand was back in full team training once again: "Marcel trained well yesterday and it’s clear to see that he is fit again. He surely expects to be in the squad." With the exception of those with long-term injuries, the VfL coach has almost his complete squad at his disposal: "We are well-staffed and have a broad squad to fall back on." Although recent performances have shown positive trends, an amount of rotation within the squad is highly likely. "We will surely make some changes, in order to avoid over-straining any of the players, but we won’t be altering everything," insisted Schmidt.