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Arsenal and Dortmund tests excite Hector The versatile Cologne star is relishing the Billy-Goats' European adventures. vor 2 Stunden

Published on: 14 September 2017

As Cologne’s Mr. Versatile and Germany’s go-to left-back, Jonas Hector is salivating at the prospect of an action-packed campaign on domestic and international fronts.

Following the highs of their brilliant conclusion to last season’s Bundesliga – in which they finished fifth – the Billy Goats have endured a sluggish start to their 2017/18 campaign. Losing to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hamburg and Augsburg may have dented morale among Peter Stöger’s men, yet with away games at Arsenal and Bundesliga high-flyers Borussia Dortmund, Die Geißböcke must quickly refocus.

“We have to be far more consistent, both in defence and in the attacking third,” Hector told bundesliga.com. “We conceded goals too easily are a team who regularly played in the Champions League in the last few years and I believe most of the time they managed to get through the group stages [of that tournament] too. They have different ambitions in their league compared to us. They always want to challenge for the title so this will certainly be a great test,” Hector said.

Jonas Hector (l.) in action against local rival Gladbach on Matchday 1.

Yet despite the thrill of coming up against his international team-mate, Arsenal’s Mesut Özil (to whom Hector provided a goal assist in Germany’s recent 6-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win against Norway), the Saarbrücken-native insists that the Bundesliga is where Cologne will look to excel once again this season. “The Bundesliga is our priority; we want to play a decent season,” he explained. “Of course the Europa League is something special, but it’s more like a bonus for us.”

Often used in midfield by coach Stöger at Cologne yet fielded at left-back by Joachim Löw for Germany, Hector’s regularly high level of performance and impressive versatility reportedly led to recent offers from teams like Barcelona, Chelsea and Liverpool.

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Yet it is in the city by the River Rhine that the Hector – at Cologne since 2010 – feels at home, playing for a club he says he is indebted to.  “I just feel completely welcome here,” the recent FIFA Confederations Cup winner admitted. “I was welcomed extremely well from the first day I got here. I turned professional here, so I owe the club to a certain extent. In the last few years we’ve had a functioning squad and in combination with our coaching staff it’s worked out really well. That’s the reason I chose to stay at the club.”

A 100th Bundesliga appearance on Matchday 2 came against the same club Hector began his top-flight adventure against in 2014, Hamburg. It is now his stated aim not only to help keep Cologne in the top-flight, but challenging in the upper half of the Bundesliga table on a regular basis.