1. FC Köln: How Duda is alienated by his role in the game’s system


Ondrej Duda likes it bright. The noble technician in the ranks of 1. FC Köln prefers to drive to Geißbockheim with a Ferrari. It’s not uncommon to hear loud engine noises as the Slovakian steers his luxury vehicle across the wooded parking lot cobblestones in the direction of the military ring after training. Duda, on the other hand, hasn’t put his football horsepower to good use in a long time.

Duda still doesn’t realize his potential

Even in his second year, the 27-year-old is one of the few players who hasn’t lived up to his potential under coach Steffen Baumgart. In Bochum’s last 1-1 draw, the attacking midfielder once again fell short of his potential. This continued for a long period of drought. His last goal came in the 18th game of last Bundesliga season. An astonishing record for an attacking man.

This season was also not under a good star for the national team player from the beginning, who returned from a special holiday in the summer and missed the training camp in Donaueschingen. In the internal hierarchy of players, Duda fell to the last place. Even rookie Mathias Olesen was given preference over Cologne’s relegation ban for the 2020/21 season.

Ondrej Duda often gets in his way

The Slovakian, who was suspended last season, mostly gives in his own way. His penchant for embellishing and slowing down, which Duda apparently can’t or won’t give up, contrasts with Baumgart’s intense style of play. As a result, Duda was not considered a candidate for a change for the first time in the summer, but inquiries remained.

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Only when Mark Uth and Mathias Olesen were injured one after the other at the beginning of the season, Duda (photo) made it back into the starting eleven – and missed his chance. Against Slovácko and Bochum, the top ten looked like a foreign body. Despite this, Steffen Baumgart continues to protect his problem child. After the game, the Bochum FC coach left the blame to the Slovakian for “one unfortunate situation or another”.

Duda’s crisis affects Cologne’s entire attack, which lacks creativity and penetrating power in the absence of top performer Mark Uth. In Geißbockheim, therefore, they are even more hopeful of the quick return of Uth, who trained with the team for the first time on Monday.

A trip to the national team these days could be useful for Ondrej Duda. But he can’t. Following a red card in a 2-1 defeat by Kazakhstan in June, Duda is suspended when Italy’s Francesco Calzona makes his debut as Slovakia coach three days later in Nations League games against Azerbaijan and Belarus. It also somehow falls into the unfortunate overall picture.



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