Cologne - 1. FC Köln's unbeaten start to the season may have come to an end at VfL Bochum on Matchday 14, but there is still plenty of reason to celebrate in the cathedral city of Cologne.
Indeed, as bundesliga.com finds out, the party is only just getting started...
As the clock struck 11 minutes past 11 on 11 November, the city's mayor could be seen handing over power to a dastardly-looking trio comprising a prince, a peasant and a maiden, also known as the Kölner Dreigestrin. Worry not, this was not some kind of Gotham City-style heist, despite what some of the costumes on show might have suggested. Instead, it was the moment locals had been waiting for: the start of Karneval season. Although the Christmas period brings about a temporary lull in proceedings, the celebrations soon get back under way in the New Year on Heilige Drei Könige (Three Kings' Day, 6 January 2014), before the Cologne carnival really comes into its own on Weiberfastnacht (Fat Thursday, 27 February 2014), reaching a crescendo five verrückten Tage (crazy days) later on Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday, 4 March 2014).
The carnival itself, or Fasching as it is known in the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia and throughout north-west Germany, is as much a part of the city's furniture as the famous Kölner Dom (Cologne cathedral) and can be traced back to the days when the Romans marched across the land of Colonia some 2000 years ago. Yet it was only in the 19th century that the city truly developed a taste for the all-singing, all-dancing incarnation that draws costume-clad carousers from around the world to the cobbled streets in and around Cologne's quaint Heumarkt square to this very day, thanks to its gaudy parades, street parties, masquerades, live music and all-round merriment.
It goes without saying, no Karnival would be complete without the party centre piece that is Rosenmontag (Rose Monday, 2 March 2014) when even the most reticent revellers are guaranteed to get swallowed up by the barmy Kölle Alaaf (Cologne above all) spirit, helped along the way by a glug of crisp Kölsch for good measure. So, if you think Kölner Karneval sounds like your cup of tea, get down to your local fancy-dress outlet, put on your dancing shoes and for all the single gents out there, in case you happen to be in town on Weiberfastnacht, the day women traditionally put males in their place by cutting off their ties in exchange for a Bützchen (little kiss), pucker up. Just don't mention Rhine neighbours Fortuna Düsseldorf. Christopher Mayer-Lodge The Köln players were well and truly in celebratory mood, as Nigerian international striker Anthony Ujah revealed on Twitter: