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1. FC Köln: “Humanly painful” – Baumgart and club part ways

Bundesliga coach change

“Humanly painful” – 1. FC Köln and Steffen Baumgart are separating

As of: 4:04 p.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes

Only ten points from 16 games were not enough: Steffen Baumgart is leaving 1. FC Köln

Quelle: Getty Images/Boris Streubel

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Steffen Baumgart is no longer the coach of 1. FC Köln. The club and its coach, who is extremely popular with fans, agreed to end their collaboration. The sporting record in the first half of the season was too bad.

The Steffen Baumgart era at 1. FC Köln is over. One day after the 2-0 defeat at 1. FC Union Berlin, the relegation-threatened Bundesliga team and the 51-year-old coach ended their collaboration. As the club announced on Thursday, the separation will take place at the end of the year. Managing director Christian Keller, head of licensed football Thomas Kessler and Baumgart came to this decision together after analyzing the season so far. The association did not provide any information about a succession plan.

Baumgart took over as coach at FC in the summer of 2021 and had a contract in Cologne until 2025. BILD had previously reported on the separation. Walking hurts, said Baumgart. “Everyone can imagine that the decision to leave FC was not easy for me. The club has become home for me over the last two and a half years,” he explained. He was proud of what had been achieved, but also now had the feeling that a change was needed.

With just ten points from 16 games, the Rhinelanders are only in 17th place at the end of the year. Regardless of the outcome of the game at Union, those involved had already announced a comprehensive analysis of the situation. According to information from BILD, the decision was finally made that night at a meeting in the team hotel in Berlin, as Baumgart started his long-planned family vacation in Austria directly from the capital on Thursday morning.

Baumgart is said to have lacked support

He had already made it clear that the end was approaching after the Union defeat. “It is clear in the situation we are in that we question everything, including the coach,” the 51-year-old said: “It’s not about me personally, it’s about the whole thing and that looks for us “Not good looking.”

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When asked whether he was leaving on his own initiative, Baumgart, whose contract would have been valid until the summer of 2025, said: “Cologne is my club. When you work at a club like that for two and a half years, it’s not about whether I’m going to throw in the towel, it’s just about what’s best for FC. We all have a responsibility and we have to face it.”

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Baumgart is said to have lacked the support of his superiors, especially sports director Keller. Under his austerity measures, the coach had little scope for transfers and also lost some top performers, which he also publicly denounced. Just a few weeks ago, Baumgart said: “It cannot be the case that we keep giving away the best and most expensive players.”

After a surprisingly strong first season, FC moved into the Europa Conference League under Baumgart. After seventh place in 2021/2022 and eleventh place in 2022/2023, the Rhinelanders are now in the middle of a relegation battle.

Baumgart did an excellent job with his coaching team and, despite many challenges, he extended his contract twice. The chosen path required a lot of strength and conviction from everyone involved, “especially from Steffen,” said Keller. “After the unsatisfactory course of the season so far, we have exchanged ideas very openly, directly, objectively and respectfully over the past few days and weeks about whether this strength and conviction really still exists to a sufficient extent,” said the managing director, who described the separation from Baumgart as described as “humanly painful”.

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