They may presently be struggling on the pitch but the future looks bright for Cologne after they became the fourth Bundesliga club to break the 100,000-member mark, joining Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke in reaching the milestone.

A crowd of 6,000 supporters greeted the playing staff with a standing ovation at the club's annual general meeting on Monday, despite their languishing bottom of the Bundesliga table with one point from six games.

The figure of 100,000 members, with another 15,000 on the waiting list for a season ticket at the RheinEnergieStadion, is evidence of the club's stability and growth following an uncertain period when they spent two seasons in Bundesliga 2 between 2012 and 2014.

Watch: A party atmosphere is guaranteed at Cologne's RheinEnergieStadion

Cologne may have fallen behind the likes of Bayern, Schalke and Dortmund in terms of silverware in recent decades, but their membership figures are clear evidence that they remain one of Germany's biggest and most historically celebrated clubs, having been a founding member - and first winner - of the Bundesliga back in 1963/64. Cologne were also champions in 1977/78 and have lifted the DFB Cup four times.

The fans are some of the most ardent in world football, and their passion brought the cathedral city club international fame a fortnight ago, when some 20,000 Cologne fans travelled to London for their team's first European game in a quarter of a century away at Arsenal.

*figures accurate as of 30 June 2017 (the end of Cologne's financial year)

Since promotion to the top flight under Peter Stöger, the Billy Goats have steadily improved on the pitch and finished in fifth place in 2016/17, qualifying for Europe for the first time in 25 years, an achievement that has likely been a key reason for the huge rise in membership in the last few months.

Stöger's side are next in action in the Europa League on Thursday, when they host Red Star Belgrade, before they resume Bundesliga duties with a home game against RB Leipzig on Sunday.

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