Professionals | 06/12/2017

Stefan Ruthenbeck on Belgrade

“It is going to be like a final”

The 1. FC Köln players landed in Belgrade on Wednesday with the final match of the UEFA Europa League group stage set on Thursday night. Captain Matthias Lehmann and head coach Stefan Ruthenbeck spoke about the upcoming fixture against Red Star Belgrade.

Stefan Ruthenbeck spoke about…

  • …preparing for Belgrade: “We have done a lot of communication, including in smaller groups as well. It is important to be on the same page. We have devised a plan and trained hard. We are well prepared for this match. We want to show courage, but we also know that they can trouble us if we show too much going forward. A lot can happen in a match like this, but we want to make use of our chances.”
  • …focus: “This team knows that tomorrow’s match is like a final. It is all or nothing. The players intend on giving it their all. Of course the Bundesliga is important as well, but our focus is firmly on this match here in Belgrade.”
  • …the captaincy: “Matthias Lehamnn is the captain of this team and I have no intention of changing that.”
  • …his debut in European competition: “I would have thought you were crazy had you told me a few months ago that I would be preparing the 1. FC Köln First Team for a match in the Europa League. It is something special for me as a local of Cologne to be able to prepare this team for this match in Belgrade.”
  • …the injury crisis: “We are not looking for alibis. Every player that came here wants to play. Every player is motivated and can be an option in tomorrow’s match.”

Matthias Lehmann spoke about…

  • …the challenge of facing Red Star: “It is just like a final. We have earned the right to play this match. We have to win. We will do everything in our power tomorrow in order to advance to the next round.”
  • …the team spirit: “We are all excited. We know what awaits us, but each one of these players is fully concentrated.”
  • …participating in the Europa League: “It is an honor to play in this competition. We do not want this to be the last match we play in the Europa League.”
  • …the coaching change: “It is no secret that Peter Stöger and I had a great relationship on and off the field. Those memories and that relationship will remain, even when I am no longer playing professionally. Having said that, if Stefan Ruthenbeck selects me to play on Thursday then I am giving 100% for this club. It will not matter to me who is on the sidelines. I think the other players feel the same way.”
  • …the traveling FC fans: “We heard over five thousand fans are making the trip. That is incredible for a Thursday night in Belgrade and by no means a given. We know how much this match means to our fans. We already saw plenty of them at the airport.”
  • …advancing to the next round: “We know better than anyone that the Bundesliga season has not gone to plan. We actually had a terrible start to the Europa League campaign as well, but we now have the chance to advance. We want to take this opportunity. We saw that Belgrade has a good team based on the first match, but we also know that we were able to put them under plenty of pressure in the second half of that match.”
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