- Köln solid throughout the season.
- Although they struggled for goals as a team, Anthony Modeste was prolific up front.
- Compact defence the foundation for a campaign free of relegation worries.
1. FC Köln achieved their season objective of staying in the top flight, doing so without becoming involved in a relegation skirmish that went right down to the wire. bundesliga.com looks back on how they did it.
Season in a nutshell
The Billy Goats began their campaign superbly, taking seven points from their first three outings, and ended it with an impressive run of five games without defeat. In short, Köln enjoyed a carefree season in which they steered well clear of relegation for the most part. As an added bonus, coach Peter Stöger's men also picked up impressive victories against European qualifiers Borussia Dortmund, FC Schalke 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Köln struggled to get going again after the winter break, but eventually turned things around to finish in ninth, their best placing for 24 years. No longer a team that relies only on safety-first tactics, there was a clear improvement this season compared to 2014/15, with newcomers Anthony Modeste, Dominique Heintz, Leonardo Bittencourt and Frederik Sörensen all settling well and adding quality to the squad.
Top three games
MD8: FC Schalke 04 0-3 1. FC Köln
Schalke had picked up 16 points from their first seven games and were full of confidence going into this encounter, yet they could find no way through a stubborn Köln side. The Billy Goats were ruthlessly efficient on the counter-attack, with goals from Modeste, Yannick Gerhardt und Simon Zoller giving the guests a thoroughly-deserved victory.
MD17: 1. FC Köln 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Stöger's men ended 2015 with a bang, defeating the mighty Dortmund in their final game of the calendar year. The visitors went 1-0 up, but Köln struck back with two late goals from Zoller and Modeste to seal an unlikely victory.
MD31: 1. FC Köln 4-1 SV Darmstadt 98
This was far and away Köln's best performance at home. Stöger's charges played a strong away side off the park and made up for some previous below-par displays at the RheinEnergieStadion to secure their top-flight status for another year.
Brought in to replace last season's leading scorer Anthony Ujah, Modeste hit the ground running in Köln by scoring six times in his first eight league outings. An eight-game barren spell followed, but the Frenchman was rewarded for his perseverance by scoring the winner against Dortmund on Matchday 17. In total the 28-year-old netted 15 times and provided three assists in the Bundesliga in 2015/16, meaning he was directly involved in almost half of the team's 38 goals.
What is next?
Cologne native and former Schalke player Marco Höger will join the club in time for next term, and while other transfers are likely, none have yet been confirmed. The 2015/16 campaign has not quite finished yet, however, with a friendly against Trier still to come on 26 May. The team will subsequently fly to Las Vegas for their end-of-season party, before resuming training once more on 4 July. Köln will hold two training camps prior to the new season: from 10-15 July in Bad Tatzmannsdorf and from 29 July - 5 August in Kitzbühel.
For bundesliga.com reporter Tobias Gonscherowski it came on Matchday 30 away to 1. FSV Mainz. Köln could have become embroiled in a relegation battle had they lost that Sunday afternoon, as Augsburg, Darmstadt, Bremen and Hoffenheim had all won the previous day. Stöger's men started sluggishly and went 2-0 down, before Marcel Risse's long-range belter brought them back into the game. A fightback ensued and just 18 minutes later Köln went 3-2 up, prompting a radio journalist in the press area to almost lose it completely. The visitors won the match and put paid to any relegation worries.