SCHAFER: IT'S NOW OR NEVER
Cologne coach Frank Schafer knows what he has let himself in for by taking charge of the Bundesliga strugglers with four games of the season remaining, but feels obliged to help them in such a time of need.
Just under a year after resigning as coach after "realising I can no longer help the team", Schafer this week returned to the helm after Stale Solbakken was fired.
The club is in a worse situation than it was when he left, but he now feels he can help them avoid relegation.
"I know that Cologne is in a difficult situation, perhaps the most difficult in recent years," he said.
"When you look at the league table and see what games we have left, then you have got to realise that it is a case of now or never.
"Nevertheless, I didn't hesitate for a second to take on this challenge. It would have been easier for me just to keep my distance, but I would never have been able to forgive myself in view of the city, the fans and the club if I had shirked the responsibility."
Schafer's first task is a local derby with fourth-placed Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday.
"The derby is a big challenge," he said at a press conference. "We will be rank outsiders for this game, but we still think we have a chance.
"We have got something to put right against the side who are currently fourth in the table."
Schafer has opted not to change his captain, at least not immediately, meaning Pedro Geromel will lead the side out at the Borussia Park stadium.
The hosts will be without Thorben Marx, whose season is over due to a knee injury.
"Of course it is bitter not to be involved at the end of the season, the time when everything is decided," said Marx on his club's website.
And there is still a lot to be decided for Gladbach, whose recent slump in form has jeopardised their chances of playing in the Champions League next season.
Stuttgart have closed to within four points and a defeat in Sunday's derby would see Gladbach's current fourth position come under threat over the final three games of the season.
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