Holger Stanislawski has taken on one of the trickier tasks in German football just now. After Cologne slumped to relegation and lost star Lukas Podolski, Stanislawski will seek to take them back to the Bundesliga.
FC Cologne confirmed on Monday that they had signed Holger Stanislawski as the club's new coach, saying he would formally speak to the press at on Tuesday.
Stanislawski is the 17th coach to take the reins at Cologne since the turn of the century. He inherits a side bereft of star striker Lukas Podolski and quite probably a few more key players, and one that will be playing in the German second division next season.
"FC Cologne is a storied Bundesliga side with fantastic fans in a very lively city," Stanislawski is quoted as saying in the official club statement. "I am looking forward to this task, even if it won't be easy. That's clear to everyone involved. The opportunity presented is to rebuild the club in concert with the management - to form a team with character and the right attitude."
Another rebuilding project
Stanislawski, born in Hamburg, made his name as a coach during a five-year tenure with the city's second side St Pauli, leading them to promotion into the Bundesliga. Last summer, after narrowly failing to keep St. Pauli in the top flight, the 42-year-old coach moved on to Hoffenheim - only to be replaced by Markus Babbel in February after a somewhat torrid time at the club.
Cologne's vice president and former Germany goalie Toni Schumacher, himself appointed only this March, said he was convinced Cologne had picked the right man to lead the club back towards the Bundesliga.
"Holger Stanislawski is a coach, who is an excellent fit at FC Cologne," Schumacher said. "Anyone who has grown up in football-crazy Hamburg with its high levels of media pressure can also survive in Cologne."
Cologne is traditionally considered the media capital of Germany, certainly from the time prior to reunification, and therefore the "Billy Goats" tend to enjoy - or indeed suffer - a disproportionate amount of attention in the local press.
msh/pfd (dpa, SID)