After more than a year's break, he was the great hope in the relegation battle. But recently, coach Steffen Baumgart left offensive player Mark Uth on the bench twice. Uth's abilities could still be of help to 1. FC Köln.

Substitute Uth and Coach Baumgart have differing opinions

For three minutes on Friday evening, he was allowed to participate in the icy cold at Darmstadt's Böllenfalltor. And although Mark Uth only had three ball contacts in 1. FC Köln's 1-0 away win against the Lilies, the offensive player was immediately in the thick of it.

About 30 seconds after being substituted in for midfielder Dejan Ljubicic, Mark Uth pressed Darmstadt's keeper Marcel Schuhen, putting him under pressure and provoking his pass directly into the feet of FC's talent Max Finkgräfe. Although Finkgräfe, after a one-two with Uth, failed to score against the 98's goalkeeper, it was evident: Uth's abilities and his game intelligence can create danger.

No club has scored fewer goals than 1. FC Köln

These skills could be bitterly needed by the Rhinelanders in their upcoming matches at home against Mainz, and away against Freiburg and Union Berlin. Because in the long-term, rather poor play against Darmstadt, the team of coach Steffen Baumgart showed little offensive strength.

With ten goals after 13 games, 'Effzeh' has the worst attack in the league. The team scored more than one goal in a game only once this season: in the 3-1 victory against Borussia Mönchengladbach in mid-October.

And yet, Baumgart opted not to start Uth in the starting eleven in Darmstadt and against FC Bayern Munich (0:1), twice after he had previously let his veteran start against Bochum (1:1) and Augsburg (1:1) - and this after more than a year's break due to injury.

But the coach doesn't see his leading player where he would like him to be yet. 'We have a very honest relationship,' says Baumgart and indicates that Uth assesses the situation somewhat differently: 'He has his opinion, which at the moment is different from mine. But that's okay, players should argue with me. I did that with my coaches in the past. They should demand something and then work towards it.'

Kainz plays poorly, Waldschmidt makes a case for himself

This implies: Uth was recently behind, but can of course slip back into the starting eleven at any time. Because the competition is tight for the three positions behind striker Davie Selke. Captain Florian Kainz, for instance, stayed on the bench after a poor half at Böllenfalltor (kicker grade 5), and Luca Waldschmidt, who came on for him, then aggressively promoted himself, pushed forward, and took the corner that Selke converted for the decisive goal.

A luxury problem for Baumgart, who in the long term can hardly do without the 32-year-old Uth's playmaking and organizational skills. 'He will soon get his chances again,' predicts the head coach. Then there will surely be more than three ball contacts again.