Cologne coach Peter Stoeger appears to say farewell

Cologne coach Peter Stoeger gestures at the edge of the pitch during the German Bundesliga football match between FC Schalke 04 and 1. FC Cologne at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Saturday Dec. 2, 2017. (Ina Fassbender/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) Cologne coach Peter Stoeger appeared to be saying goodbye to supporters, his players and training staff after the side’s 2-2 draw at Schalke on Saturday.

Stoeger’s side twice came from behind to avoid slipping to its 12th defeat from 14 games.

But with three points, Cologne has made the worst start by any side in the league since it began in 1963.

Stoeger hugged players and assistants, and he approached Cologne fans in the stadium in Gelsenkirchen, taking his hat off and bowing before applauding them.

”We’ll see what happens,” Stoeger said in response to questions about his future.

Asked whether he will continue to lead the side or whether he expects a new coach to be appointed, Stoeger says, ”I think a decision will be made relatively quickly.”

Stoeger joined Cologne in 2013 when the side was still in the second division. He led it to promotion as second division champion in his first season and oversaw steady progress in each of the next, culminating in fifth place and Europa League qualification last season.

However, injuries, bad luck, and poor decisions have all had an effect, with the club also failing to make up for the summer departure of top-scorer Anthony Modeste. Modeste scored 25 goals in the Bundesliga last season but Cologne has struggled to find the net this season. Before the visit to Schalke on Saturday, the side had just four goals in 13 league games.