Fresh start for Harambee Stars prospect at FC Koln amidst Bundesliga turmoil

Linton Maina ©Imago

STARS ABROAD Fresh start for Harambee Stars prospect at FC Koln amidst Bundesliga turmoil

Festus Chuma 12:00 - 05.01.2024

Linton Maina at FC Köln gets a new head coach amidst the team's struggle in the Bundesliga.

Harambee Stars prospect Linton Maina will have a new coach to guide his steps in the Bundesliga.

FC Koln has announced the appointment of Timo Schultz as their new head coach, stepping into the role previously held by Steffen Baumgart.

Schultz's appointment comes at a critical time, with Cologne languishing in 17th place on the league table.

The 46-year-old gaffer brings a wealth of experience to RheinEnergieStadion, having previously managed teams such as St. Pauli and Basel.

Schultz task is monumental yet clear – to steer Cologne away from the relegation zone and secure their Bundesliga status.

"The coming days, weeks and months will be a big task for us to ensure we remain in the Bundesliga," said Christian Keller, the managing director of FC Köln. "We’re pleased that Timo Schultz will take charge as head coach for this task going forward."

As a former midfielder with notable clubs like Werder Bremen and St. Pauli, Schultz's transition into coaching began with St. Pauli's reserves in 2011. 

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His coaching career includes stints as an assistant coach and leading the U17s and U19s teams. Schultz's leadership saw St. Pauli reach notable heights in the Bundesliga 2, including a top spot at the halfway stage of the 2021/22 season.

However, following a dip in performance and a subsequent dismissal from St. Pauli, Schultz faced a short, challenging tenure at Basel before being released from his duties.

His appointment at FC Köln marks his first foray into Bundesliga coaching, with a crucial objective of keeping the Billy Goats, as FC Köln is affectionately known, in top-flight football.

Schultz exudes confidence about his new role. "I’m looking forward to a very attractive job at this great club," he said in the club’s official statement.

"We’ll do a lot of intense work in the coming weeks to achieve the required results. FC belong in the Bundesliga. We’ll stay up, I 100 percent believe that."

For Linton Maina, this change in leadership could signal a turning point in his season. Despite only scoring one goal and registering an assist in the current campaign, Maina's potential under Schultz's guidance is a focal point for Cologne's survival strategy.

The new coach lead his first training session on Thursday morning, as Cologne prepares for their upcoming home game against newly-promoted Heidenheim on 13 January.

The following week poses another significant challenge, with a match against Borussia Dortmund.