COLOGNE, Germany (dpa) – Cologne sport director Joerg Schmadtke believes local rivals Borussia Moenchengladbach are showing the way forward in the Bundesliga – but still intends to beat them in the 99th competitive derby between the pair on Saturday.
“Gladbach have a clear advantage because they have done many things right in the last years, developed the team, developed the finances, as you need,” Schmadtke told dpa in an interview.
“Even when it is difficult to say as someone from Cologne, you can say it calmly: Gladbach are further forward than us.”
Cologne fans may find those words hard to accept but Schmadtke feels is simply acknowledging the reality of the situation. After three seasons in the second division and large debts of 24 million euros (27.4 million dollars) to pay off, an immediate return to the top of German football was never likely for the newly promoted club.
“We need time for that,” Schmadtke said. “We cannot say tomorrow there is a paradise here and we simply have to walk in.
“We must stabilise ourselves in sporting terms and then we will also take hold of the financial issues. But that will take three to five years.”
Schmadtke, formerly a goal-keeper with Fortuna Dusseldorf, already had experience of working with cash-strapped clubs before joining Cologne through a spell with Alemannia Aachen.
But Cologne, three-time German champions, cannot be compared to Aachen even if their glory days are long gone.
The last major title won was the German Cup in 1983.
Coach Peter Stoeger is charged with bringing back success on the pitch and, after 20 Bundesliga games, the side are in a respectable 11th place – if only five points above the relegation play-off place.
The previous derby with Gladbach this season ended goalless, meaning victory away to their rivals Saturday would allow Cologne a large say in the local bragging rights come the season’s end.