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Goalkeeper comeback and USA transition: U21 prepares for second half of season

Mark Zimmerman told the U21s to get back to training. (Archive photo: Bopp)

New Year’s New Luck? 1. The U21 footballers at FC Köln are back on the training ground from Thursday. Coach Mark Zimmerman hopes the brief shutdown will unleash new strength in his team. However, one player got injured in the first session. Changes have also been made to the team.

“The time without football was long enough, at least for the winter.” Mark Zimmerman, coach of the U21 soccer team 1. FC Köln, is excited. The 48-year-old recharged her batteries during the short Christmas break – and hopes to do the same with her supporters.

The coach now has about a month to prepare his team for the first match in the Regionala West. A tough away game begins at Rot-Weiss Oberhausen on February 4th (2pm). The U21s will be the clear outsiders in sixth place. “But it wasn’t a bonus game,” Zimmerman insists, “and we gambled on this opportunity. The remaining 14 games are fundamental for us.” After just 20 points from the previous 20 games, Cologne need three points in the fight for relegation. A win.

Tryouts for the U21s

Winter preparations will this time take place entirely in Cologne. A year ago, the U21s traveled to Marbella in Spain for a short training camp in January. But FC’s tight budget didn’t allow for such a trip this time. For the same reason, there shouldn’t be any outside newcomers – although a strong finisher with just 27 goals in the first half of the season is badly needed.

After all, the U21s currently have an attacking player with Benny Reddsic. The 20-year-old, who can play on the attacking flanks, last played for FC Dallas and has been out of contract since January 1. The 1.78m tall winger holds US and Bosnian citizenship and has already played for both countries’ youth national teams. Redgic has made six short appearances in America’s top division, MLS, and is expected to stay with the U21s until next weekend. Zimmermann wants to see the potential new signing in the first friendly in Oberliga Baumberg on January 14 (2:30pm). A duty must then be decided upon.

Voyage to America before Return — Roloff

Meanwhile, another player from America, Gabriel Segal, has already left the club. The 21-year-old arrived at Geißbockheim from Stanford in the summer, but the striker struggled with the transition. Segal never outgrew the role of a backup player. According to GEISSBLOG, he has now decided to return to the US and has moved to MLS team New York FC.

Jonas Urbic’s loan to Regensburg is also having an impact on the U21s. The 19-year-old was a regular keeper for the regional league side and made 13 appearances in the first half of the season. Cologne will be short-staffed between the posts throughout the season, with Tobias Trattner and Gavin Digilatis. So reinforcement is necessary. As GEISSBLOG has learned from multiple sources, Julian Roloff is slated to take over the vacant goalkeeper position. The 21-year-old left FC a year ago to join Canadian Premier League club Cavalry FC. However, the 1.92 meter giant was used there only four times. No official confirmation on Roloff personnel from FC yet.

At the start of practice Thursday, Zimmerman had to digest the first bad news. Yusuf Ornek is in the unit with a syndesmosis injury and is at risk of being out for weeks. Michael Oskan is rehabilitating after a meniscus injury. Leon Waldminghaus started with the doubles on Friday and Luka Schlags will join the team on Monday after an operation.