Struggling bottom of the Bundesliga club FC Cologne (1.FC Köln) have parted ways with their Austrian head coach Peter Stöger with U-19 coach Stefan Ruthenbeck taking over as interim coach until the winter break.
After an in-depth analysis of the situation, 1.FC Köln and head coach Peter Stöger have mutually agreed to terminate the contract of Peter Stöger, which was set to run until June 2020 alongwith assistant coach Manfred Schmi.
FC Cologne U19 coach Stefan Ruthenbeck will take over First Team duties until the winter break with his coaching staff including Kevin McKenna and Markus Daun, as well as current goalkeeping coach Alexander Bade.
FC President Werner Spinner said, “Our responsibility is to try everything in order to stay up in the league. Until recently, we hoped that we could do this in the constellation with Peter, his staff, and this team. Despite the positive result against Schalke, we unfortunately no longer have this conviction. This is why, in the current situation, it is important to bring a stimulus into the position of head coach, despite this being a very difficult and heavy decision for us to make.”
FC Cologne Managing Director Alexander Wehrle said, “Peter Stöger has written an unprecedented success story with 1.FC Köln since July 2013, leading us to promotion and for the first time in 25 years, to the European Cup. In addition, he has always represented the club as an authentic and credible figure. That no other head coach held the position as long as he did is no coincidence. Both Peter Stöger and us have felt in recent days that our joint path was coming to an end, regardless of the result against Schalke. This is why it was also important for Peter to have a clear decision, before there was too much negativity and emotion brought into the equation. The team is now, more than ever, expected to build on the hope that was created through the result against Schalke.”
Former coach Peter Stöger added, “It was clear to us on Friday that the Schalke match would be our last. We decided to wait until Sunday to communicate this in order to fully concentrate on the match. It is in the best interest of the club and especially the team that a decision was made and clarity restored. To the players, the staff at the club, the fans, and the city of Cologne: you have grown dear to the hearts of Manni Schmid and I, and we will keep our fingers crossed that my successor manages to keep 1.FC Köln in the Bundesliga.”
Peter Stöger arrived in Cologne with his assistant Manfed Schmid in July 2013 from Austria Vienna. In 2014, he managed to bring 1.FC Köln back to the Bundesliga as champions of Bundesliga 2. Under his leadership, FC managed to land in 12th, 9th, and 5th place in successive Bundesliga seasons. His start into the 2017/18 season made him the first coach in club history to manage the first team for five consecutive seasons. In total, he was responsible for 168 competitive matches.