Distraught, disappointed, despondent: words so often used to describe that moment players and fans alike feel when their club suffers what can seem a devastating drop down a division. However, with the talent that will remain at their disposal and the magnificent support the club enjoys, most expect Cologne's forthcoming spell in Bundesliga 2 to be brief.
bundesliga.com outlines five reasons why the Billy Goats can bounce straight back...
1) Hector & Co.
When you sit back to enjoy Germany's defence of their FIFA World Cup crown this summer, take note of the player in the left-back position for Die Mannschaft. It will likely be none other than Cologne's Jonas Hector, Joachim Löw's go-to full-back who recently committed himself to the club he joined in 2010, despite their travails.
Watch: Check out just what Cologne means to Jonas Hector
And Hector was not alone in pledging his allegiance to the recently relegated team, the supremely talented Timo Horn will also be sticking around after the super shot-stopper also inked a new contract. Likely to stay put, too, is wing wizard Leonardo Bittencourt and with midfielder Marco Höger also on board, a marker for club loyalty in times of massively inflated transfer fees and astronomical contracts has been laid down.
Watch: Timo Horn on his reasons for staying at Cologne
2) First-class fans
It's what every professional in the game would want: unwavering support when it is most needed, backing to the end and beyond. The Bundesliga is blessed with the finest fans in the world, and those who have pledged their allegiance to Cologne are up there among the best. With the referee's whistle signalling the end of the game in Freiburg at the weekend, the visitors knew what had for so long seemed inevitable, had come to pass: the Billy Goats were relegated.
Yet to a man, the strong travelling contingent applauded their players instead of berating them, offered encouragement for the battle ahead in Bundesliga 2.
"This is unique. I've never experienced this in football," Horn said of the magnificent support. "I'm proud to be continue here. We'll be back, of that I can promise and without support like this, it should make things a little easier."
3) Simon Terodde
It was a conundrum that had the Cologne faithful and those running the club scratching their heads this time last year: just who would replace that goalscoring man marvel Anthony Modeste? After all, a player who provided an astounding 25 goals - almost half of the team's goals - in the push for a fifth-placed finish would provide a significant absence in the side.
And so it proved this term. Yet in forward Simon Terodde - signed from VfB Stuttgart in January - the North Rhine-Westphalia side has a man who knows all about scoring goals in Bundesliga 2. While at Stuttgart and Bochum, the 30-year-old registered 50 goals spanning successive seasons in Germany's second division between 2015 and 2017.
4) Neuer Anfang (New start)
With Peter Stöger and Stefan Ruthenbeck having unsuccessfully occupied the bench this season, Cologne will look to a man who has delivered a thus far memorable season to Holstein Kiel, a side pushing for a maiden promotion to the Bundesliga.
Markus Anfang's attractive side have racked up 64 goals in what has been a campaign highlighted by attractive, offensive football. The former midfielder, whose surname translates as 'start' or 'beginning', has agreed to jump aboard the good ship Cologne and look to steer the club of his native city back up to where they belong.
5) Cologne's bouncebackability
With such a solid base to work from next season, the Billy Goats will undoubtedly start the campaign as clear favourites to be promoted. Added to that, history suggests Cologne will not be out of the limelight for long. After their last five demotions since 1998, the Carnival Club have never been out of the top-flight for more than two seasons while on two of those occasions, they achieved immediate promotion back into the Bundesliga.
So in these tough times, Cologne fans, take comfort in history and don't stop believing.