1.FC Köln

GERMAN CHAMPION 1962, 1964, 1978
GERMAN CUP 1968, 1977, 1978, 1983

1.FC Köln is one of Germany's most popular clubs, and was only founded after the war in 1948 through a merger of Kölner BC 1901 and Sülz 07.

Although the last title was won back in 1978, throughout the late 1980s and in to the early 90s, Köln was often a contender for the championship. However, the rot began to set in by the mid 90s, as overpriced "stars" failed to produce, and management generally was out of control

Prior to 1.FC Köln, there really was no dominant club in the large Rhein city. For the most part, the city clubs were too weak to challenge against their stronger rivals to the north. Both KBC and Sülz each one a western regional title - but that was between the years 1909-33. During the 3rd Reich, they played in the Gauliga Mittelrhein, but rarely achieved anything noteworthy. So in a sense, the WWII collapse turned out to be a blessing for footballing fans, as all the clubs were banned immedaitely after the war, and refounded. The president of KBC was a certain Fritz Kremer, who had the vision to recognize that Köln would never mount to anything on a national scale unless a more powerful club was built. He persuaded Sülz to merge with KBC and they became 1.FC Köln. (OK, they were hardly the first football club founded in Köln, but I guess you could argue they quickly became the top club in the city in no time.) Kremer also brought in more professional management, which laid the foundation for Köln's rise in the 1950s and 1960s. After almost immediate promotion into the top flight Oberliga West, 1.FC Köln proceeded to win the Oberliga title 5 times until the founding of the Bundesliga. By eth 1960s, they were one of Germany's top clubs, and Kremer was one of the vocal proponents of the new Bundesliga - of which Köln became the first champion.

In the 70s, Köln was pushed aside by M'gladbach and Bayern. Although they were usually among the top clubs, they generally had no look at the title, except on TV. Furthermore, the club was shook by the Bundesliga Skandal when it was revealed that GK Manfred Manglitz was one of the ringleaders in the bribery attempts. (Ironically, Köln actually won the matches that Manglitz supposedly took bribes for.) In any case, Manglitz, a German international, was banned for life. Köln continued to play decently in the league, but hardware remained elusive. Ironically, it was the architect of Gladbach's rise, Hennes Weisweiler, who would turn things around. In 1978, Köln did the double. The title was not without some contraversy though. Köln and Gladbach were neck-and-neck through the end, but after 33 matches, with a +10 goal differential in their favor, Köln seemingly had the title in the bag. But then Gladbach won against a disgraceful Borussia Dortmund by a ridiculous 12-0, which surely would bring back a hint of the bribery scandals. Fortunately, Köln was away to hapless, already relegated St.Pauli, although it took a strong 2nd half effort, they won 5-0 and took the title. This would prove to be the last hurrah for some of the Köln stars of the era, such as defender Wolfgang Weber and midfielder Hannes Löhr. The next season it seemed that European glory was on the horizon as well. After a 3-3 at Nottingham Forest, they seemed to be in a perfect position to advance to the finals, but stunningly lost at home 0-1. Nevertheless, the future seemed bright. New players came on the horizon, surrounding long serving superstar Wolfgang Overath - Bernd Schuster, Pierre Littbarski, and (from Nottingham Forest) Tony Woodcock.

The 1980s were generally successful, but Köln was not good enough to take the title. Still, under coach Christoph Daum, they had finished runner-up the last two years of the decade, and the future looked promising. But Daum was then stunningly fired (later revealed probably because he was a coke-head), and the club started a painful decline. Apparently the club had been mismanged financially for years, and debts mounted as the club struggled to pay off costs of stadium renovations and expensive player contracts.

Disaster finally struck in 1998, as Köln became one of the last orginal Bundesliga members to get relegated. Ironically, the club was beginning to get out of the financial doldrums, as strong fan support and the stadium renovation moved forward. But although success might be measured in euros, it's also dependent on the field, and here Köln had become an also-ran.

The 1998-99 season, the first in the 2nd division, proved to be very trying for Köln. Despite the presence a few high priced "stars", they basically stunk. Early on, they even looked like a relegation candidate. Redemption would come next season, as they played well from the start and then coasted home to the 2.Liga championship. The return was only two seasons, but in 2002-03, a great 1st half allowed Köln to coast home in the 2.Liga, and bounce back to the top flight. Yet the Bundesliga proved to be too difficult a task, and once again Köln found itself headed back to the 2.Liga. What has become increasingly clear is that this once mighty club is now a member of the vastly increasing "elevator" brigade. In 2008, they were back up, and managed to survive, largely due to the strike rate of Slovenian Milivoje Novakovic, who tallied almost half of Köln's total.

Fullname 1. Fußball-Club Köln 01/07 e.V.
City Köln (Nordrhein-Westfalen). Pop: 991,395 (2007). Known as Cologne in English...
Address Postfach 420251, 50896 Köln
Phone: (0221) 9436430 Fax: (0221) 4301851
Colors Usually red shirts, pants, white socks, or all white with red trim. Sort of Arsenal.
Nickname Die Geisböcke (Goats)
Stadium Müngersdorf Stadion Capacity: 50,997 (46,134 seats)
Under a marketing agreement, the stadium is now known as the RheinEnergiestadion, after the local power company. The agreement lasts through 2009. The stadium was originally a cycling track, built in 1923, and Köln played there through 1949. Then a main stadium was expanded, which by 1953 had a capacity of 76,000. That stadium was torn down and a new Mügersdorfer was constructed for the 74 World Cup, holding about 60,000, although it was subsequently reduced to around 47,000. In 2003, a refurbishment brought the park to it's current level. It's one of the few stadiums with it's own website. Tours are available, 6 euros, includes the FC-Museum.
Tickets Anywhere from 7-46 euros (2007).
Supporters In the Bundesliga, Köln usually drew very well, with a large base of loyal fans. (Averaged 40,000+ in 2004.) In the 2.Liga, you'd expect the crowds will be much smaller, but in fact they've remained about the same: they averaged around 43,000 in 2006! Furthermore they will undoubtedly be one of the top draws on the road. There are many fan clubs listed (by postal code) on the official club website.
Friends St.Pauli. This goes back to 1978, when Köln thrashed SP for the title, but SP fans celebrated their victory along with Köln fans.
Foes Local rival is Fortuna Köln, but really not much from the FC standpoint. Traditionally, clubs like M'Gladbach, Schalke and of course Bayern are fierce rivals. Leverkusen is hated as well. Düsseldorf is disliked as a city, but with that Fortuna bumbling around in the lower divisions, it may be a while before that comes back. You might think that the local rival is Fortuna Köln, but nobody even cares about them.
Heroes Several famed players have worn the Köln jersey, almost 40 German internationals, the best of which is Köln legendWolfgang Overath (81 caps), a key midfielder in Germany's 1974 World Cup win. He also became club president in 2004. Goalkeeper Harald Schumacher (76 caps) played some 422 Bundesliga games. Although the leading scorer is the longtime player Hannes Löhr (166 goals), perhaps the star that shone the brightest was the other Müller, Dieter, who scored some 159 times in many fewer games. Tiny Winger Pierre Littbarski (71 caps) was a fixture in the 1980s. Lukas Podolski is known as "Prinz Poldi" and is a huge fan favorite. Among the foreigners that have been hugely popular, English international Tony Woodcock (1980s) and Austrian Anton Polster (80s-90s).
Zeroes Manfred Manglitz would be a good candidate.
Beer The current sponsor is Gaffel-Kölsch. In the past there was also Küppers Kölsch but it evidently wasn't too popular: "No one, really no one in Cologne drinks “Küppers Kölsch”. It’s awful, you’ll hardly find a pub serving it and considered a very cheap beer, sold in cans. Everybody hated the situation when it was served in the Stadium in the 90’s. The current Kölsch “Gaffel” is the most served Beer in Cologne (I don’t say best, but thats a different story). Traditional Beers and Pubs (where Cologne ppl and no tourists will go) are “Päffgen” and “Mühlen”. Most popular among Youths are “Gaffel”, “Früh” and “Reissdorf"
Pub Grub The stadium restuarant is "12.Mann", which of course has Gaffel Kölsch.
The Net The official site is www.fc-koeln.de
There are also plenty of fan sites. netcologne-fantv has video streamed info and is also a TV-Magazin on the local center-tv cable station.


Recent History:

1963-64	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1964-65	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1965-66	(I)	Bundesliga	5th
1966-67	(I)	Bundesliga	7th
1967-68	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
1968-69	(I)	Bundesliga	13th
1969-70	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
1970-71	(I)	Bundesliga	11th
1971-72	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
1972-73	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1973-74	(I)	Bundesliga	5th
1974-75	(I)	Bundesliga	5th
1975-76	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
1976-77	(I)	Bundesliga	5th
1977-78	(I)	Bundesliga	1st	CHAMPION
1978-79	(I)	Bundesliga	6th
1979-80	(I)	Bundesliga	5th
1980-81	(I)	Bundesliga	8th
1981-82	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1982-83	(I)	Bundesliga	5th
1983-84	(I)	Bundesliga	6th
1984-85	(I)	Bundesliga	3rd
1985-86	(I)	Bundesliga	13th
1986-87	(I)	Bundesliga	10th
1987-88	(I)	Bundesliga	3rd
1988-89	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1989-90	(I)	Bundesliga	2nd
1990-91	(I)	Bundesliga	7th
1991-92	(I)	Bundesliga	4th
1992-93	(I)	Bundesliga	12th
1993-94	(I)	Bundesliga	11th
1994-95	(I)	Bundesliga	10th
1995-96	(I)	Bundesliga	12th
1996-97	(I)	Bundesliga	10th
1997-98	(I)	Bundesliga	17th
1998-99	(II)	2.Bundesliga	10th
1999-00	(II)	2.Bundesliga	1st
2000-01	(I)	Bundesliga	10th
2001-02	(I)	Bundesliga	17th
2002-03 (II)	2.Bundesliga	2nd
2003-04 (I)	Bundesliga	18th
2004-05 (II)	2.Bundesliga	1st
2005-06 (I)	Bundesliga	17th	
2006-07 (II)	2.Bundesliga	9th
2007-08 (II)	2.Bundesliga	3rd	
2008-09 (I)     Bundesliga	12th
2009-10 (I)	Bundesliga	13th
2010-11 (I)     Bundesliga	10th
2011-12 (I)     Bundesliga

(c) Abseits Guide to Germany : www.abseits-soccer.com