FC Cologne Vice-president Toni Schumacher believes that the newly promoted Bundesliga 2 side will create a long lasting legacy in the first tier of German football.
The Rhine Energie Stadion outfit who have been lingering in the second tier of German football for the past two seasons have won the Bundesliga 2 title for a third time in 15 years after securing 19 wins out of a possible 33.
Austrian manager Peter Ströger who was handed the daunting task of returning the club back into the Bundesliga has not only achieved this but has also kick started a legacy by creating a youthful side with an average age of just 24.
Although this newly integrated side may not be blessed with scoring goals this season, having the second worst conversion rate amongst the top four their rock hard defence has given the whole city the belief that they will be able to compete with the Bundesliga heavyweights come August.
The Billy Goats have conceded only 18 goals, coincidently the smallest amount that any side within the top two flights of German football have all season, with Schumacher believing that the club have everything to look forward to.
He told reporters: “We have been promoted, that was our target, nothing more and nothing less. From the first game next season our next target will be to stay in the Bundesliga.”
The former goalkeeper who won the European Cup for Germany in 1980 has also said that the club won’t take their promotion for granted due to the difficulty of adapting to Bundesliga football.
He said: “We are not going to be giving ourselves any unrealistic targets for next season. For example setting our sights on securing European football from the off. We know how difficult it is going to be.”
However, Schumacher who was born less than fifty kilometres away from Cologne, believes that the team who are vastly made out of players from the city and its surrounding areas are capable of forming an established Bundesliga on the back of a youth system.
He said: “I am a bit old fashioned, but I am extremely happy that we have been able to integrate players from our youth set up such as Jonas Hector and Yannick Gerhardt into the first team.”
“We have promised our fans that we are doing all that we can to invest for the future.”
Although it is reported that the club must spend at least €30 million in order to create a side which is capable of staying within the top flight without any more fluctuations, Schumacher believes that the club must be creative about their money in order to remain debt free.
He said: “If we had no debts then we could invest more. However, our situation means that we must be creative.”
“From this week Jorg Schmadtke and Jorg Jakobs are going to travel many kilometres so that we are able to find many talents for the start of the season. The best thing is that players will want to play for us now.”
The 60 year old has also expressed his excitement at having manager Ströger on hand for next season and believes that he will continue from where he left of at the start of the new campaign.
He said: “He has made all of our players better. For example he always seems to get the best out of his starting eleven and he knows exactly what to do if things need changing.”
Schumacher has also been quick to quell any rumours that his side are destined to suffer their fifth relegation in just over 15 years, and is desperate to bring stability back to the club.
He said: “Hopefully that was the last promotion for our club. We don’t want to be associated with this image of being a yo-yo club any longer. My biggest wish is that we will become a stable club once more.”
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