The man who has replaced former sporting director Jörg Schmadtke has admitted that avoiding relegation will be all but impossible. Armin Veh hasn't said who he plans to hire as coach, but has said that it won't be him.
Speaking at his first press conference since being named as Cologne's general manager last week, Armin Veh (above, right) told reporters on Monday that he saw almost no chance of the team avoiding relegation this season.
"I am not naive," the 56-year-old Augsburg native said, before noting that had Cologne managed to hold on to earn their first league win of the season on Sunday, that would kept the door to avoiding the drop open, if only by a crack. But alas, the Billy Goats blew a three-goal lead at home, conceding their third and fourth goals in stoppage time to lose 4-3 to visiting Freiburg.
"We have to plan differently now," Veh said. "Assuming that there is no major miracle, and Cologne are in the second division next year, then we will have to assemble a team that will be among the favorites."
He also said that he planned to turn Cologne's situation, having earned just three points in their first 15 games, to his advantage, because it meant he could start planning early for next season.
At the same time, though, Veh promised that the Billy Goats would be playing to win each of their remaining 19 games of the current campaign, saying that to do anything less would not be fair to the competition and the league.
No hint who could be the next coach
One of the biggest things on the minds of Cologne supporters has to be who Veh plans to hire to replace Peter Stöger, who has landed on his feet (to say the least) in Dortmund just a week after getting the sack in the Rhineland. However, when asked about this, Veh played his cards close to his chest, saying he wanted to get to know interim head coach Stefan Ruthenbeck and his staff before taking a decision.
The one name that the new GM, who coached Stuttgart to the Bundesliga title in 2007, did rule out though, was Armin Veh.
"I was a coach for 27 years and now I am excited to take on this new role," he said. "I know we are in a difficult situation, but I am looking at this with a long-term perspective."
And as if to drive home the point, Veh also noted that "I won't sit on the bench. I am not the coach's chief minder."
pfd/dv (dpa, SID)