Jonas Hector rewarded for following Gigi Buffon's example
Background image: Ungry Young Man, CC BY 2.0
Loyalty brings its perks.
Victory tastes best after the bitterest defeat. Following up a tragedy with a monumental win feels like a huge success. Jonas Hector is experiencing similar sweetness after attaining Bundesliga promotion with FC Koln on a quiet Monday night. Many called him a fool for staying after their harrowing relegation last season. Yet, the left-back knew the rewards would be mighty.
The Billy Goats experienced a nightmare last year, suffering relegation after four years in the top-flight. It sparked internal chaos. Top stars like Anthony Modeste, Leonardo Bittencourt, Serhour Guirassy made their emergency exits. The experienced left-back also had many lying in wait for him to join. Bigger clubs knew his ability. Nobody could really blame him for trying to save his career...
However, in an unprecedented display of loyalty, the 28-year-old signed a new contract despite sensing doom. As captain, he couldn’t just leave the sinking ship, vowing to build Koln back up. This bold stance didn’t come without consequences. Once regarded as an unmovable object in Germany’s defence, Joachim Loew couldn’t trust him anymore.
The German gaffer is a persistent visitor to club games in a scouting mission for new players. Even he couldn’t attend the 2nd division fixtures. While he wasn’t phased out immediately, he became sidelined following the World Cup humiliation. As some boasted from playing at the highest level, he was the outcast floundering in the lower leagues. The mentality clashed, forcing the German coach to take the painful decision.
Yet, the Koln captain was well aware of the sacrifices which came with pleading his allegiance. He’d won the FIFA World Cup with Germany, achieving the greatest honour in his career. That being said, he earmarked his toughest personal battle; getting promoted from the 2. Bundesliga. As captain, all hopes were pegged on his shoulders.
A change in management made things even trickier. Youth team coach Andre Pawlak was promoted to permanent manager given the responsibility to oversee the promotion process. However, Hector did the hard-work in inspiring his side, relaying his manager’s philosophy through his dominant presence. Despite being a left-back, he worked even as a centre-midfielder on occasions to great effect, showing his versatility and commitment to the cause.
The sturdy left-back’s dynamic presence floored second division teams. He put in one solid performance after another, marshalling his troops forward to ruling over the 2. Bundesliga with an iron fist. After missing some games last season due to injury, he stood tall in predominant league matches this time around. In 27 appearances, he scored four goals and assisted twice thanks to his emphatic finishing ability along with stark creativity.
According to WhoScored, the 28-year-old boasted an eighty-six percent passing accuracy, while also averaging more than three successful aerial challenges per game in the physical conditions. The strong left-back isn’t one to back out from a challenge, proving such with one dominant performance after another. Hector’s unbreakable will sparked his side’s confidence. Striking duo Jhon Cordoba and Simon Terodde destroyed through competition, scoring 48 out The Billy Goats 80 league goals in between them.
Yet captain fantastic’s diligence inspired Pawlak’s side to race back into the Bundesliga. If he hadn’t already inherited a heroic reputation by displaying loyalty last season, his work in granting them instant qualification solidifies his legendary status among fans. A next personal target for him would be clawing his way back into the national team.
Considering the journey he faced, that doesn’t seem harrowing considering his leadership qualities and excellent defensive aptitude. Now, however, is the time to celebrate. After being written off by everyone, Jonas Hector’s redeemed FC Koln’s failures. In doing so the hard way, he showcased loyalty unfathomable in this day and age.
The 28-year-old had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to drag the Billy Goats back into the limelight. By reviving the sinking club which earned him his reputation, Hector’s scripted a heroic tale which teaches loyalty is a precious virtue which eventually presents a wonderful happy ending.