Steffen Baumgart's joy in the offensive is now almost legendary in the Bundesliga.

The coach of 1. FC Köln lets his teams attack consistently, and this courage also characterizes his public statements.

Only when it came to the goals of his Cologne team for the season did Baumgart remain cautious for a long time so as not to tickle the old hubris of this city.

In the excitement of the remarkable 1-0 win in the Rhenish derby at Bayer Leverkusen, he now attacked rhetorically in this area as well.

"It's March, it's not even spring yet, and we managed to stay up in the league with Cologne," he said.

In truth, his club can theoretically still be relegated, but Baumgart is not only a friend of open words, but also a realist.

And as such, he knows that his team is so strong that they are more likely to qualify for the Champions League than slip into the bottom third.

Wirtz seriously injured

This thesis was confirmed in an impressive way during the 90 minutes in Leverkusen.

Not because Cologne were better, "It was tight, Leverkusen had their chances," said Baumgart, maybe even the better ones.

But Cologne managed to impose their own style on the third-placed team and took the lead at the right moment through Kingsley Schindler (67th minute).

"We deliberately adjusted our style of play today to avoid Cologne attacking," said Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane we play otherwise."

The result was a highly intense football battle with many tough duels.

In addition to Leverkusen's Florian Wirtz, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, Jeremie Frimpong and Odilon Kossounou also had to be replaced injured.

"You could see that we wanted to get over the aggressiveness and intensity," said Cologne's Salih Özcan.

The game was not unusually unfair or even brutal, but out of sheer respect, the Champions League contenders from Leverkusen went into terrain where their own footballing superiority was no longer so clear.

From Cologne's point of view, a clearer confirmation of their own strength is hardly possible.

Accordingly, the FC pros celebrated wildly after the final whistle in front of the away block, and when they arrived at Geißbockheim in the evening, hundreds of fans lined the street and cheered the derby winners, who can now dream of more.

The team now wants to "attack at the top," said Özcan.

But even if that fails, this season will remain a sensational success.

In mid-March, the Cologne team can start planning for the coming season with a team that is working perfectly and a coach who could become an important argument for courted players in forthcoming transfer talks.

On April 1, Christian Keller, who led Jahn Regensburg into professional football, will take up his job as the new sporting director, and Philipp Türoff will take over the finance department from Alexander Wehrle, who left for Stuttgart last week.

This club hasn't been so free from worries and burdens for a very long time.