Similarly to VfL Wolfsburg, FC Köln is one of the few top-flight clubs founded after the end of World War II. The 60s, 70s, and 80s were the club's most successful and honored years, being three times German champions and also winning the DFB Pokal on four occasions. They even were runners up in the UEFA Europa League in 1986, being beaten by Real Madrid. Unfortunately, since this period was over for Köln, they've found it hard to win other trophies. The only exception that is made is four 2. Bundesliga titles, but for a club with their ambitions, this isn't something to brag about.
FC Köln Transfers
Dieter Müller from Kickers Offenbach for €75,000 in 1973 – What a transfer this has been for Köln! The then 19-year-old Müller went on to score 219 goals in 320 appearances before leaving the club in 1981. During this time, he was crowned top scorer of the Bundesliga twice in 1977 and 1978. He also set the Bundesliga record for most goals scored by a player in a single match – putting six past Werder Bremen in a 7-2 win. Furthermore, Müller was a key figure in the German National team. He was sold to VfB Stuttgart in 1981 for €800,000.
Thomas Häßler from Reinickendorfer Füchse on a free transfer in 1984 – It took Häßler a year with Köln before he secured a regular spot in the first team. He went on to become the main man in the midfield of the pitch and spent a total of 6 seasons with them, helping the squad to become Bundesliga runner-ups twice in 1989 and 1990. Häßler won the 1990 World Cup with Germany and saw interest in him growing. The same year he signed a €7.80 Million with Juventus, which was colossal by the ‘90s’ standards.
Lukas Podolski to Bayern Munich for €10 Million in 2006 – Podolski came through the youth academy of Köln and started playing for the senior team in 2003 during a campaign in which the team was relegated from the Bundesliga. However, at 18 years, he scored ten goals in 19 outings – a tally, which earned him a spot in the German National team where he attracted a lot of Elite clubs' attention. In 2006 after Köln was once again relegated, he joined Bayern Munich for which he made over 70 appearances. Podolski later continued his career with Arsenal Milan and several other sides. Little transfer gossip surrounded his career.
Anthony Modeste from Hoffenheim for €4.5 Million in 2015 – The French struggled to settle himself in the clubs he played in. Before joining Köln, his most successful campaign was a season-long loan with Angers when he scored 20 goals in 37 games. However, playing elsewhere, he failed to deliver. Things changed once he joined the Billy Goats. During his two seasons with them, he scored 40 goals, and his value skyrocketed. Köln saw their investment pay out when they loaned Modeste to TJ Tianhai for a €5.7 Million loan fee in 2017. The Chinese club was delighted with him and spent €29 Million to acquire him the following season. In total, Köln profited over €30 Million from buying Modeste.