Personnel Moves

Marcel . . . our Belle!

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Four more years!

As we all await some incoming-transfer news to offset the rash of departures and offer insight into how the club will continue to move forward despite the personnel set-backs, it’s nice to hear that one of our favorites will be sticking around a bit longer.

Marcel Risse and the 1. FC Köln announced Monday that they have agreed to a contract extension that keeps the midfielder under club control into 2019.

Risse had nine goals in the promotion season and five the season just finished. While one might look at that as strictly a drop in offensive production, it should be noted that Risse’s versatility helped smooth some potentially rough patches, filling in at right back, left mid, and even as an attacking mid when called to duty. It should be no real surprise that the guy might see a drop in production playing in a team that was as starkly defensive-oriented as this year’s FC was.

While Risse’s forward play might be somewhat stifled by Peter Stöger’s philosophy, the explosive moments seem to shine all the mores-strongly when they emerge.

His goal against Schalke ended up being the one that secured the final points needed to assure the Billy Goats will return to the Bundesliga next year, but he had one in each contest against Frankfurt and a pair in Hamburg that were more exemplary of the danger Risse can bring to the EffZeh offensive attack when he gets into the open.

Even better, look at some of his passes to see both his technical ability and his vision. His header to Kevin Vogt for the big home win over Borussia Dortmund was prime, as were both assists in the season finale against Wolfsburg. The first to Yuya Osako showed a nice bit of touch and timing in slotting the ball through for the striker to grab an early lead. The second, providing for the equalizer, was a hammered pass right at a marked Slawomir Peszko, giving the Polish midfielder pretty much the only chance at scoring there he could otherwise have had.

“Gute Entscheidung Marcel!!! 👍 #effzeh” Peszko salutes Marcel’s “good decision.”

But, let’s face it, even when we all get crazy excited about Risse’s play, a primary component to his popularity is due to his status as a natural-born “Kölsche Jung.” Marcel was born in Kalk, which is a Köln neighborhood across the river from the Dom. (Note: I only learned of this after Risse initially signed in the summer of 2013. Football makes me learn all sorts of stuff..)  After Risse had signed with his hometown club, he posted a music video on his Facebook page, celebrating his own homecoming with Cat Ballou’s “Et Jitt Kei Wood,” a favorite local pop-rock song, the title of which is Kölsch dialekt for “There is no word,” referring to the the singer’s inability to explain how he “feels when he thinks of Cologne.” (Note: More stuff I can’t believe I make the effort to learn due to unreasonable dedication to this club and game )

Risse sports the Kalk coat of arms on his own arm.

Despite his having played his youth ball for another club on that side of the Rhine, Risse has been happy to be home and happy to be sticking around.

„For me, as a Kölner , it is something special to play with the FC,” says Risse, “I feel very comfortable here and have also continued to develop professionally thanks to the coaching staff and my teammates. I am very happy and grateful to be able to continue working on establishing the 1. FC Köln in the Bundesliga.”

Risse’s existing deal was set to expire next summer. Despite players traditionally being the focus of transfer rumors when they approach the final off-season of their contracts, there was never much chatter about Risse potentially departing.

“Since day one, Marcel has been an absolute top performers in our team and has great potential to develop even further,” says Jörg Schmadtke. “He identifies himself fully with the club, the fans, and the city, and we are delighted that he will stay longer with us.”

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