Sports director Christian Keller from 1. FC Köln has launched an all-out attack against the DFL and opponents Bayer Leverkusen because of the postponement of the game next weekend. “Normally we would have gone along with it without complaining much, but I don’t understand the process and the way it went and I don’t think it’s good,” said the 46-year-old, himself a member of the DFL supervisory board, after the defeat against SC Friborg (0:1).
The derby in Leverkusen was brought forward from Sunday to Friday, giving Bayer two days more to prepare for the next semi-final first leg in the Europa League against AS Roma.
“Why wasn’t that done when Eintracht Frankfurt played the Europa League? Bayern Munich plays for an international title almost every year, so I’ve never seen a game be moved,” said Keller: “Everyone will come soon and says: Come on, we have an important game, let’s be embarrassed for overriding reasons.”
From Keller’s point of view, the health of the players should play a more important role in the “overriding reasons” with which the transfer was explained. Last year, Cologne had to play TSG Hoffenheim around 48 hours after the Conference League game in Slovacko. Striker Florian Dietz suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in this game. “I can’t explain that to anyone internally either,” said Keller.
Above all, the process “annoyed” him: “We as playing partners were involved last, by then the number was more or less over.” The topic was probably a big one in the Cologne dressing room too. “I don’t know to what extent I should comment on that. If I say my opinion, then I get in trouble,” said midfielder Florian Kainz, and Davie Selke also preferred to keep his mouth shut: “I could knock one out now, but that’s no use. “
Coach Steffen Baumgart also had to hold back. “I’m a very emotional person. People who know me know what’s going on in my head. I also have to learn not to comment on some things,” said the 51-year-old.
Despite everything, Leverkusen in the semi-finals “sincerely keep their fingers crossed that they progress and at best win the Europa League,” said Keller: “That would be very important for German football.” In terms of sport, the transfer is “not a disadvantage. In the end, that won’t be the decisive factor in whether we play the game successfully.”