Cologne - 1. FC Köln have the carnival season and a chance of revenge against local rivals Bayer 04 Leverkusen to look forward to in the second half of the campaign, but survival is the remit for Peter Stöger's men.
First time stateside
With that in mind, Köln have made sure their preparations for the second half of the season are undertaken in optimal conditions by planning their mid-season training break in the warm and sunny climes of Orlando, Florida.
Last season, Köln chose Belek, Turkey as the destination for their winter training camp. The Mediterranean resort will welcome six Bundesliga clubs this winter, but Köln will be preparing for the Bundesliga's restart much further afield.
Instead, Stöger and his team will stay in the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Hotel in central Florida where they will continue preparations for the second season-half, which begins with a trip to Hamburger SV on 31 January. Florida's climate and numerous beaches make it an ideal tourist resort, but while the Billy Goats will undoubtedly have opportunities to see the sights when they arrive on 8 January, they'll be hitting the training ground posthaste.
Ricardo Vilar, a Brazilian-native who made 10 top-flight appearances for 1. FC Kaiserslautern, currently plying their trade in the Bundesliga 2, was the brains behind the Florida Cup.
“The basic idea was to use the time at the training camp, where the clubs are working under highly professional conditions, to play high-quality friendlies,” explained Villar. “We are providing the best possible sporting infrastructure, and the format of the Florida Cup is an ideal platform.”