The return of one-time FC talent Simon Terode from VfB Stuttgart marks the club’s first transfer of the winter as well as of the first of the Armin Veh era.
The transfer fee to bring “T-Rod” back to the club for which he made his Bundesliga debut is thought to have been in the €3 million range. The move included a new contract for the striker, binding him with the FC into 2021.
While the FC’s new sporting director refuses to publicly concede relegation, having said he will not be selling assets to get an early jump on a second-division rebuild, the acquisition of Terodde at least secures a proven 2. Bundesliga goal-scorer in case of the drop.
“Simon Terodde is physically strong, has proven his qualities in finishing over the years through a very good goal-scoring rate, and is also a very good guy,” said Veh of his first purchase in his new role.
A 21-year-old Terodde first arrived to 1. FC Köln in 2009 from MSV Duisburg, where he emerged from the youth ranks as a prospect. In 52 matches for the FC’s youth squad, he delivered 20 goals and 13 assists, earning his opportunity to show what he could do with the first team.
The opportunity proved to be limited. In five Bundesliga appearances, Terodde saw the pitch for just over half-an-hour of playing time. His only start for the Billy Goats came in a DFB Pokal. Terodde notched the FC’s only goal in a round-of-16 loss to none other than his former club from Duisburg.
A loan to 1. FC Union Berlin gave Terodde his first real opportunity to be a full-time player at the professional level. After a slow first half of the 2011-12 season, which included a month-long injury break, Terodde exploded as a legitimate goal threat, scoring six times in his first nine matches upon his return.
At the end of the loan, the FC and Union agreed to make the move permanent. Terodde was unable to maintain his torrid pace in the two seasons that followed, however, managing just 15 goals over the following two seasons.
Following a five-goal 2013-14, the striker was allowed to leave on a free transfer to VfL Bochum, where he immediately made his qualities known with ten goals in his first seven competitive matches, including both tallies in a opening-round upset of future employer VfB Stuttgart in the DFB Pokal.
The following season, Terodde improved on his 16-goal debut season for Bochum with a league-best 25 goals, helping propel Bochum, which had narrowly avoided relegation the season before he arrived, to the fringes of the promotion fight and a drive to the quarterfinal round of the DFB Cup, where their run was ended by none other than FC Bayern München.
With 89 goals in 187 matches, Terodde drew the attention of newly relegated VfB Stuttgart. With an eye on a quick return to the Bundesliga, the Swabian club shelled out €3 million, a princely sum in Germany’s second division, to lead the Stuttgart attack.
The investment clearly paid-off, as Terodde delivered another 25-goal season to Stuttgart’s title run to become only the second player in 2. Bundesliga history to lead the league in goals in consecutive seasons (Angelo Vier 1996-98).
Terodde had been unable to show the same goal-scoring prowess in the top flight during the Hinrunde, contributing just two goals to his club’s campaign to stay in the Bundesliga. Stuttgart’s 13-goal output from eight different players is tied for second-lowest in the league (guess who has fewer!). As the season progressed, Terodde slowly evolved from everyday striker and sometime team captain to frequently watching from the bench.
Though he did not yet have his replacement at the club, Stuttgart sporting director Michael Reschke felt compelled to move Terodde, a popular player and key figure to recent club success, out of respect for Terodde’s wishes.
“Simon did a great job for VfB last season and made an important contribution to VfB’s immediate return to the Bundesliga. The transfer to 1. FC Köln was as difficult a decision for Simon as it was for us,” explained Reschke. “Ultimately, it was Simon’s express wish to make a move to be closer to his home and family; in the end, that was surely the tipping point. In the end, we fulfilled Simon’s wish because the VfB Stuttgart has much for which to thank him and because he has always behaved in an exemplary manner.”
Of course, there also was the sporting element for Reschke to consider.
“Simon has scored two goals. We need more of a goal-threat in attack,” said Reschke. “We are intensively engaged with a new, goal-threatening offensive player.”
A few days later, that player proved to be Wolfsburg’s Mario Gomez, who is returning to the club he helped lead to a Bundesliga title eleven seasons ago.
The trainer of that championship club? Armin Veh.
While Terodde does not have quite as glorious a history to which to return, he hopes to contribute to something even more unprecedented than Stuttgart’s title.
“I had two great years in Cologne and am pleased to come back. With the FC, I took my first steps in professional football and know the special feeling of playing at the RheinEnergieStadion. Of course, we have a difficult task ahead of us in the Rückrunde, but we’ll try everything to achieve the class-retention.”