Unbeaten after seven matches and boasting the joint-best defensive record, second-placed 1. FC Köln are proving to be the early season surprise package in the Bundesliga.
Just two points separate die Geißböcke and league leaders FC Bayern München at the top of the table ahead of a trip to the capital to take on Hertha Berlin, who themselves are just a point worse off.
Talking exclusively to bundesliga.com before the game, right-back Frederik Sörensen discussed what’s changed for Köln this season, the unity amongst the squad and the tough test awaiting the team this weekend.
bundesliga.com: Frederik Sörensen, even the experts have been shocked by 1. FC Köln’s remarkable start to the season. Are there similar feelings amongst the squad?
Frederik Sörensen: At the start of a long season you’re always a little unsure of how it’s going to go. However, now we’ve realised that we can win against the so-called ‘smaller teams’, which is something we struggled to do in the previous campaign. We’ve already beaten Freiburg, Darmstadt and Ingolstadt and are therefore picking up points we used to drop.
Everyone now knows what we’ve capable of producing in terms of a performance and no one is going to be underestimating us anymore. Frederik Sörensen
bundesliga.com: Riding this wave of euphoria, is the team playing to their limits right now or is there more to come?
Sörensen: Last season we had five or six new players who joined the club. This season it was just four. All of them were integrated impressively quickly, not least because there are parts of this team that have been playing together since their time in the Bundesliga 2. The contract extensions for Tony, Jonas and Leo [Anthony Modeste, Jonas Hector and Leonardo Bittencourt] proved that there’s a real belief and interest in working with a project that is far from complete. I’m convinced that we can get even stronger in one or two years.
bundesliga.com: Right now though, it’s all about the top-four clash in Berlin. What do you make of Hertha this season?
Sörensen: I watch a lot of football and, for instance, saw Hertha’s UEFA Europa League qualification second leg against Brondby IF, which they lost convincingly. However, that feels like a completely different Hertha team to the one that picked up a 1-1 draw in Dortmund last Friday. I watched that game as well. Hertha were aggressive, very strong in their challenges and fully deserved the point. That’s why they’ll prove a very difficult challenge for us. Everyone now knows what we’re capable of producing in terms of a performance and no one is going to be underestimating us anymore.