7:45am: Good morning, Geißbockheim!
It’s a dark, dull and chilly start to the day at Geißbockheim but the FC players are in good spirits. The players are heading for a team meeting before the Winter training camp in Benidorm.
8:01am: Meré remains at home
As the driver closes the door, it’s time to make the short journey to the airport. Leon Schneider (U21), Sava Cestic (U19) and Tim Lemperle (U19) are on the bus, while Jorge Meré is not on board. The Spanish defender is ill. Rafael Czichos is, however, fit enough to fly.
8:24am: Airport arrival
The journey from Geißbockheim to Köln-Bonn Flughafen is one that the players are used to, and this morning is no different. With no traffic on Saturday morning, it’s just over a 20-minute drive to check-in.
FIrst part of the journey: We’ve arrived @AirportCGN! #effzehpic.twitter.com/D4Gc9FgLlw— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) January 4, 2020
FIrst part of the journey: We’ve arrived @AirportCGN! #effzehpic.twitter.com/D4Gc9FgLlw
8:46am: Airside at last
The players are checked in, security is over and done with. FC are into departures and grab a coffee and something to read before the flight. Now, it’s time to wait and relax.
9:21am: Wehrle and Wolf join up
Managing director, Alexander Wehrle and President, Dr. Werner Wolf are also part of the FC team travelling to Valencia by plane.
9:53am: “This is a passenger announcement for Mr. Thomas Kessler...”
As the team go through boarding , Dominick Drexler asks the staff to relay a message to Kess as he waits in line - the FC stalwart is not far behind, however.
#effzehpic.twitter.com/Z9XNjAofo6— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) January 4, 2020
10:20am: Into the clouds
FC are in the air. FR178 is headed for Valencia. The players have their own way to spend the two-or-so hours in the plane. Dominick Drexler and Rafael Czichos are heading up the Nintendo Switch group, with Kingsley Ehizibue and Anthony Modeste taking time to watch films and shows. For the majority, it was a chance to catch up on some sleep before landing.
12:16pm: Touchdown in Valencia.
After a peaceful and quick flight, FC are on the tarmac ahead of schedule. It’s a pleasant 15°C and much warmer than in Köln - it's time to collect the luggage and head for the bus.
Safe and sound in sunny Spain #effzehpic.twitter.com/ySVXRuZb3g— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) January 4, 2020
Safe and sound in sunny Spain #effzehpic.twitter.com/ySVXRuZb3g
12:52pm: Reunited with Bussi
FC bus driver, Michael Liebetrut is ready and waiting at the airport to help load all the baggage for the drive to Benidorm. He has been in Spain ahead of time to get ready for the team’s arrival.
2:36pm: Home for the week
After around 90 minutes in the bus, FC arrived at the hotel in Benidorm. There wasn’t much time to relax, as activation was scheduled in for 4:00pm. The players were able to have something quick to eat, as they geared up for training.
4:00pm: Activation station
Activation was led by Max Weuthen and Dennis Morschel, as they both prepared the players for training. Given that the team had spent two hours in the plane and another hour-and-a-half in the bus, it was important for the players to be properly ready for an intense session.
It’s go-time! The first #effzeh training session in Benidorm is underway! pic.twitter.com/KrNIxu5qSL— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) January 4, 2020
It’s go-time! The first #effzeh training session in Benidorm is underway! pic.twitter.com/KrNIxu5qSL
4:30pm: Intense session
While the FC players didn’t face off in a traditional game, there was no lack of effort to be seen from any of the team. After the usual warm-up and passing exercises, the players split up into two sides on the pitch with four small goals and the goal of completing passes through each. Plenty of tackles and short, smooth passing was on show. Thomas Kessler and Mark Uth both completed part of the session in line with their recovery programmes.
A quick update on #effzeh fitness @Mark_Uth and @kess_18_ completed part of the session as part of their increase in routine after their injuries.Rafael #Czichos went through an individual session in the hotel. pic.twitter.com/pGt0mjKc3D— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) January 4, 2020
A quick update on #effzeh fitness @Mark_Uth and @kess_18_ completed part of the session as part of their increase in routine after their injuries.Rafael #Czichos went through an individual session in the hotel. pic.twitter.com/pGt0mjKc3D
6:00pm: Done and dusted
After training and a 20-minute run to finish things off, a long day for the FC players came to an end. The team headed back to the hotel for a well-deserved break, with dinner to come later on.