Professionals | 15/03/2018

70 years of 1. FC Köln

Cologne derby in the Cup final

To celebrate the 70th birthday of the club, a look back at the respective decades of the club will be released each Thursday on The 80s featured an appearance in a major European Cup final and a trophy against a local rival.

Following the success of the Double in 1978, FC would enter a rollercoaster decade in the 80s. Still, a major trophy against a local rival and an appearance in the final of a European Cup gave FC fans two big reasons to be proud.

11 June 1983: Derby win in the final

1. FC Köln had a strong run in the 1982/83 DFB-Pokal, which included a second round win against Bayer Leverkusen (3-1) and a rout of FC Schalke 04 (5-0) in the quarterfinal. In the semifinals, the match against VfB Stuttgart went all the way into extra time, but FC came out as the eventual winners with a score of 3-2. This set the stage for a final against city rival Fortuna Köln.

Fortuna Köln dispatched Borussia Dortmund in the semifinals with a convincing 5-0 win to set up the city derby in the final. Consequently, the final was relocated to be played at the Müngersdorfer Stadion in Cologne. The second division side from Cologne dominated the early stages of the match, but it was a lone goal from FC attacker Pierre Littbarski that proved to be the difference. In the end, it was 1. FC Köln that won not only the bragging rights, but also the 1983 German Cup.

The 1. FC Köln starting eleven at the 1983 DFB-Pokal final. 

1986: Close to relegation

The 1985/85 season began with not much of a bang. After seven matches, FC amassed just eight points. By the time the first stage of the season was over, FC found themselves in an unspectacular 12th place in the league standings. The second stage of the season began with a 1-5 loss in Dortmund followed by a 2-3 defeat against Leverkusen, which resulted in the departure of FC head coach Hannes Löhr. In his place came Georg Kessler, but FC soon had a stretch of seven matches without a win, and a slide down the standings. On the last match day, FC faced VfL Bochum in an absolute must win situation. In the end, FC was able to prove victorious with a 3-0 result and saved themselves from relegation with no matches left to be played.

Karlheinz Geils (left) and Emilio Butragueno (right).

1986: Cup final against Real Madrid

Despite the poor run domestically, FC has never come closer to European silverware than in the 1986 season. The final saw 1. FC Köln face the golden standard of European football, Real Madrid. Yet, Los Blancos almost did not make it to the final. It was Borussia Mönchengladbach, of all teams, that secured a 5-1 home win against Real in the early stages of the competition. However, Madrid came back in the second leg to secure a 4-0 win and advanced to the next round as a result of the away goal rule.

1. FC Köln dispatched of teams such as Sporting Gijon and Sporting Lisbon on their way to the final, where they met the heavily favored Spanish giants. Madrid made good on their favorites tag and took a commanding lead in the fixture with a 5-1 home win in the first leg. FC needed a miracle, but crowd trouble from select FC fans meant UEFA sanctioned for the second leg to be played in the Olympiastadion in Berlin. The result was a 2-0 victory for FC in front of a half-empty stadium, which proved to be insufficient for the miracle comeback. Thus, Real Madrid was able to add another piece of silverware to their glorious cabinet.

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Total table
9TSG 1899 Hoffenheim35
101. FC Köln32
111. FC Union Berlin30