Whe has met Thomas Kösling a couple of times, has observed him doing what he is doing, and he quickly gets the impression that the coach of the Frankfurt Galaxy football team is not a particularly extroverted contemporary. Anyone who watches Thomas Kösling and listens to his work quickly realizes that the 38-year-old police officer is more objective, sober in his dealings, and always focused.
But if you watched Thomas Kösling after the final of the European League of Football (ELF), which he and his team had won on Sunday after a thrilling final quarter and thus won the first title of the still young league, you saw something that you probably don’t see it that often: Thomas Kösling danced. In front of 20,000 spectators in the Düsseldorf arena, in the middle of the lawn. This victory, as Thomas Kösling later said, was really something special for the coach of the Frankfurt Galaxy football team.
Defensive shows weaknesses for the first time
It was special not only because Kösling danced, or because it was the first title ever that the team won in the first year since its re-establishment, but also because Frankfurt Galaxy with this 32:30 victory over the Hamburg Sea Devils had demonstrated a whole new quality. A quality, however, that they had to painfully discover in themselves.
“We had a situation that we weren’t used to,” said Kösling after the game, referring to what had been obvious to many in the stadium: The Frankfurt defense, the backbone of the team in a very successful season with eleven wins from twelve games, showed glaring weaknesses for the first time. Ironically, in the most important game of the year: Position errors, coordination problems, lack of communication.
The start against Hamburg failed completely, the Sea Devils did what they wanted with the Galaxy defenders in the initial phase. And they scored: 0:10 was now behind Frankfurt, a little later then 12:17.
Game threatened to tip over
“It felt as if everything was going well for us,” said Hamburg quarterback Jadrian Clark, and his coach Andreas Nommensen also said: “That played into our cards. We put Frankfurt in a situation they didn’t know. ”To be confronted with a deficit, right at the beginning and then even several times in a row, was anything but usual for Kösling and his team this season in the Frankfurt Galaxy von was arguably the most consistent (and successful) of all eight teams in the league. Precisely because the stable defensive always ensured self-confidence and security even on the offensive.
Frankfurt had “wavered a bit” at that moment, said Kösling, who constantly tried to influence his defenders from the sideline. How dramatic these moments actually were, and even more: how dramatic they could have been, made clear by his next sentence to the FAZ: “Some of the players were not receptive because they were so unfamiliar with this situation.” The ELF championship, according to the assessment of the Galaxy coach, could easily have tipped over in this phase before half-time, the dream of the title would have been over soon.
Offensive finds answers
But when one part of the team, which is so dominant so often, shows weaknesses, it is the best time for the other to show strength. Even if the Frankfurt defensive stabilized as the game progressed, it was above all the offensive, led by quarterback Jakeb Sullivan, that on each of the arrears in this first half, and later on the again significant 20:30 deficit in the second Half found the right answers.
Especially in the exciting final phase, when the title fight could have been decided in both directions, the attack row showed strong nerves: Two touchdowns, one just 23 seconds before the final whistle, turned the game just in time in favor of Frankfurt, and because Hamburg’s kicker Phillip Friis Andersen , one of the outstanding actors of this first ELF season, showed his nerve and missed two field goals; one from close range, which would probably have meant the Sea Devils’ sure victory, and one with just four seconds remaining from 62 yards (about 57 meters), the Galaxy players, offensive and defensive, stood together with their coach at the end in the confetti rain and lifted the silver trophy into the night sky.
This comeback quality, i.e. having the ability to playfully, but above all also mentally, recover from setbacks, and even gain impulse energy from it, should be a valuable insight for the coming season in the European football league.
Frankfurt Galaxy will then start again as one of the favorites, which was confirmed by winning the title this year. But Kösling did not want to be completely exuberant even at this special moment. When asked whether he could sing the praises of his quarterback, who had been voted the most valuable player in the final, Kösling replied with a smile but clearly: “I’m definitely not singing now.”