Cologne - At first glance, perhaps other than being above Borussia Dortmund, there isn't anything all that out of the ordinary about mid-table 1. FC Köln's position in the Bundesliga standings.
Now take a closer look - what do you see? 11 games played, 11 goals scored and 11 conceded on this, the 11th day of the 11th month of the year. Freaky, isn't it?
Let the party commence!
As it happens, 11 November is one of the most important dates in the Cologne calendar. Not just that, but the time of 11:11 am is also of city-wide significance for the budding revellers on the celebratory day in question: the beginning of Karneval season. Locals have long embraced the festivities, which continue deep into the new year when days of intermittent partying eventually draw to a close on Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday, 18 February 2015) - and it's no different for Kölle's beloved Billy Goats.
"Now we can celebrate Karneval," declared Köln striker Anthony Ujah following Matchday 11's barnstorming 4-3 victory away to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. The Nigerian turned up to training in Papal attire this time last year, before descending on the Cathedral City with the rest of the squad in time for the late morning party. "Karneval is a tradition, it's history," explained head coach Peter Stöger at Tuesday's training session. "The team's part of the city, so we want to be involved too. We were going to party whatever happened in Hoffenheim, but now it makes it even more fun for us."
The players themselves took to the pitches at the club's training headquarters in jovial mood, each sporting a bright red wig and clown's nose. It was certainly a new experience for summer signing Kevin Vogt, albeit one which the former FC Augsburg midfielder was delighted to be a part of. "I've heard dressing up is a must," he told express.de. "My costume isn't quite finished yet, so you'll have to wait for the surprise. The photos from last year look really funny. I'll find out what it's like for myself when we go into town. We won't be getting legless, but I think one or two beers are in order."