FC Köln 2 Schalke 2
We got off to the worst possible start, when a Schalke attacker got above Josef Resch, and got on the end of a cross, to head the visitors into a 3rd minute lead. Things didn't improve after that, and we deserved to be behind at half time.
I switched from the 343 formation to 433 early in the second half, but that didn't help much, and we fell further behind when the same attacker got above Lukas Kersken, to got on the end of another cross, and double Schalke's lead in the 63rd minute.
Drastic action was needed, so in the 69th minute, I made a triple substitution. Off went midfielder Stephan Mamba, left winger Faris Mitrovic, and striker Agostinho Gomes. Jannick Fiedler moved from the right wing to the centre of midfield, and my substitutes were Jonas Kurz, who played on the right wing, Alexander Kraft, who played on the left wing, and debutant Markus Neumann who played up front.
These changes had an immediate impact. In the 71st minute, midfielder Daniel Langner sent the ball into the area, for Neumann to head it into the path of Wouter Van Hyfte, who struck the ball with fury, to pull it back to 1-2.
A minute later, Van Hyfte played the ball to Langner, who sent it into the area for Neumann to head in the equaliser. 2-2.
Either side could have won it in the end, though I think that we were unlucky not to win, as the Schalke keeper was the busier of the two.
Markus Neumann's cameo roll of an assist and a goal earned him a 10 rating, and the Man of the Match award.
FC Köln 1 Borussia Mönchengladbach 0
I made five changes for the visit of Borussia Mönchengladbach, for this Rheinland derby, and lined up in the 433 formation.
We started brightly, and won a free kick in the 15th minute. Jannick Fiedler lined it up, and did brilliantly to beat Christian Klaus from 25 yards out, and give us a 1-0 lead.
We were containing my former club well, and things went from bad to worse for them when star player Marwan Soliman received a straight red card just before half time.
The second half was a bit closer, but we were well worth the win. My centre back pairing of Luciano Vega and Rico Sonnenberg were superb, Daniel Langer's performance at the heart of midfield, creating three chances, and winning three tackles earned him the Man of the Match award, and Markus Neumann proved to be a right handful up front.
DFB Pokal 1st Round
Rostock 0 FC Köln 1
I made eleven changes for this trip to 3.Liga North side Rostock, and gave four players their debuts.
This was a much more comfortable win than the scoreline suggests. We contained the hosts well, and had we been a bit more clinical in front of goal, we could have scored more.
It's too early to draw any conclusions from our league position. Four points from our opening two games is a good start, though I'd have probably expected to have beaten Schalke and drawn with Borussia Mönchengladbach, rather than it being the other way around.
I was pleased with the comeback against Schalke. It's something that we've shown that we're capable of. You may recall that during the second half of last season, we were 1-4 down at Viktoria Köln, and came back to draw 4-4. We also fell behind three times at home to St. Pauli, before winning 4-3.
I'm delighted with the way that Markus Neumann has started. He looks very raw at the moment, but he's already shown that he can be difficult for defenders to deal with. I'll be interested to see how he develops.
Nice to know that I'm still in demand. I also think it shows that perhaps FC Köln don't have a particularly high reputation, if middling clubs are headhunting me. This may also explain why when I find players that I might be interested in signing, and add them to my shortlist, around half of them are filtered out when I select 'Interested'
A couple of fringe players have gone out on loan for the season. Midfielder Mario Winkler
has gone to 3.Liga South side Mannheim, and forward Malik Schultz
has gone to Frankfurt, who after finishing 4th in the Bundesliga in 2040, were relegated to the 2.Bundesliga in 2042, then relegated again to the 3.Liga South last season.
I've managed to bring in a couple more players in the final two days of the transfer window.
His value for Determination is a little low for my liking, but I got one of my scouts to assess Ben Mickels,
and he reckons that he could be a useful addition to the squad. Most players that this particular scout assesses, aren't considered good enough, so I tend to take notice if he has something positive to say about a player.
Ben cost £3.5M, and arrives from 2.Bundesliga side Offenbach, so it's not too much of a gamble for this club, with it's cash reserve of £1.3B.
I quite like the look of Tobias Schröter.
He was on a rolling contract at non league side Norderstedt, so I got him on a free transfer. His value for Dribbling is already high, so I'll probably look to alternate him between skill and tactics training, in a bid to improve his other attacking values.
A trip to Augsburg, who have won their opening two Bundesliga games - without conceding - awaits us.