Cologne - 1. FC Köln know how to keep things interesting. The Bundesliga 2 leaders were 1-0 down against VfL Bochum on Monday night, but turned things around thanks to goals from Marcel Risse, and Anthony Ujah, clinching a 3-1 win and with it the league title with three games to spare.

With the team and their fans in a state of euphoria, storming the pitch and celebrating the Billy Goats return to top-flight football, a jubilant Helmes was all too happy to answer a few questions…

Question: Patrick Helmes, congratulations on the promotion. How does it feel?

Patrick Helmes: Of course, I'm delighted and relieved. Everyone knows what kind of club 1. FC Köln are and where we belong. We've had a difficult year, but we could hardly have played any better from start to finish. That we've finally managed it [being crowned champions] after just 31 Matchdays is a dream come true.

Question: This is the second time you've won promotion with 1. FC Köln, how was it this time round?

Helmes: I don’t need to tell anyone how difficult it is in Bundesliga 2 to compete against teams like 1. FC Kaiserslautern or FC St. Pauli and all the others. Even today, we had some difficulties, but we showed great persistence, even after we went a goal behind [in the 3-1 win over VfL Bochum 1848]. I think we played to our full potential over the 31 Matchdays. Naturally, we had some problems, but in the end we were picking up points consistently and that's why we've earned our promotion three games early.

Question: What was the difference to the promotion six years ago?

Helmes: In 2008 it cost us a lot of energy. Back then we only just managed it with a difficult squad in a very difficult season. This time round we’ve been sitting in top spot for nearly the whole season. We deservedly sealed the deal and are once again back in the Bundesliga.

Question: You just came out of the changing room, what does it look like in there? Is the team celebrating?

Helmes: The mood is great. The players are just taking off their shoes after their warm-down, so that they will be fit for the game against Ingolstadt on Friday… (laughs). No, joking aside, we reached our goal and have become champions in the process. Two goals can be checked off. Now we'll party for two days and then drive to Ingolstadt. That will be a completely different game compared to the others, of course, but we're looking forward to it.

Question: How will you celebrate the promotion in Cologne?

Helmes: Probably with a lot of Kölsch (a local beer). The guys are already celebrating. The whole city is already partying, which makes it even nicer. We'll go out on the town in a bit to celebrate. It'll be crazy, but we deserve to party and have a good time.

Question: You came back to Cologne to get promoted with the club. What are you looking forward to most next year?

Helmes: First of all I'm excited that we have managed to get out of Bundesliga 2, even though it has to be said, that the teams are getting better in the division. You need to pay them a lot of respect, but we've made it out. We're looking forward to the new season on the big stage. That's why we became footballers; we want to test our capabilities against the likes of Dortmund. We still have three weeks in which we can play without any pressure, then we’ve got summer break and we'll be rested and ready for the Bundesliga.

Interview by Tobias Gonscherowski