Jonas Hector shaped the last decade at 1.FC Köln like no other. Against Bayern Munich he will get an emotional farewell at the end of his career.
It’s not a day like any other in Cologne – this Saturday (05/27/2023) will be very special. 1. FC Köln could have sold more than 100,000 tickets against Bayern Munich. On the one hand, this is due to the opponent, on the other hand to the open question of the master – but above all to an emotional farewell. Because at 1. FC Köln captain Jonas Hector ends his career.
FC makes exception for Horn and Hector
The importance of Hector, who only ever played professional football for Cologne, can be seen in two things: On the one hand, those responsible for him and his club colleague Timo Horn – with 21 years in a row at 1. FC Köln, the longest professional in the club – an exception.
FC announced: “After the game there will be a farewell in the stadium.” What exactly the club is planning is not known. The other players who will leave the club, on the other hand, will say goodbye at the team’s internal celebration after the end of the season.
Hector as a symbol for the pattern professional
But Hector is not only popular with those responsible, but also with the fans. Hector is so popular with the fans because he comes across as different from many of the highly paid players in the professional circuit: down to earth, always with a focus on the team and the work. Hector said very modestly about his further plans on “11 Freunde”: “I would like to go to the stadium relaxed on Saturdays after gardening.” Almost like any other spectator in the stadium.
“He loves football, but not the football business,” said his coach Steffen Baumgart after the announcement of the end of his career. Hecor himself even admitted that he wasn’t really happy as a professional.
Better endowed offers rejected
The FC captain is the symbol of what they want to see in Cologne: a loyal football romantic who goes through thick and thin with his club. One who shows high quality and dedication on the field. And one who sometimes lives out Cologne folklore in the dressing room. Hector and Cologne – they looked for each other in 2010 and found each other.
It was particularly well received in Cologne that he remained loyal to FC – for 13 years, five of them as captain. He went to the second division as a national team player and turned down better-paid offers because he felt comfortable in Cologne. It suits Hector that he chose his own departure time. He made it up to himself, didn’t let himself be pushed and only decided according to his feelings.
farewell on birthday
But Hector has not only stood for the relegation battle in the last decade, in which FC was often involved, or even going into the second division. He also achieved great successes: Like in 2017, when FC reached the European Cup for the first time in 25 years and fans celebrated as if FC had just become German champions. Cologne even repeated the feat last year.
So now comes Hector’s last game – it will also be highly emotional for him. Ironically, on his 33rd birthday in his “living room” in Cologne against FC Bayern Munich. There can hardly be a larger framework for the FC captain’s farewell. It is certain that the fans will honor him and colleague Horn with a choreography.
Baumgart: “Premature replacement cannot be planned”
However, there could not be an early substitution in honor of Hector. “We’ll only do it if we’re in the right position. If it’s exciting, we’ll decide from a sporting point of view. It’s not possible to plan,” said Baumgart at the press conference before the game. That would fit Hector’s attitude: no big, premature hustle and bustle – but rather only after the work is done.