Status: 27/09/2023, 13:48 p.m.
Schalke's sporting director Peter Knäbel (l) sits next to Schalke's sporting director André Hechelmann. © Tim Rehbein/dpa
Next, please. Exactly eleven months to the day, the supposed hope Thomas Reis was in office as coach at Schalke. A successor is not yet in sight.
Gelsenkirchen - Celebrated as a saviour a few months ago, now released after fierce player criticism - FC Schalke 04 really seems to be able to manage any coach. Alarmed by the weak start to the second division, the Bundesliga relegated team parted ways with previous head coach Thomas Reis on Wednesday. "We are also very dissatisfied with the fact that we have now come to this decision so quickly," admitted sporting director Peter Knäbel afterwards - Reis had been in office for just eleven months.
On Friday's difficult game at SC Paderborn (18.30 CET/Sky), interim coach Matthias Kreutzer is expected to finish 16th in the table. in conjunction with assistant coach Mike Büskens. Since the search for a Reis successor is only now beginning and there is still no new coach in sight, it is conceivable that the duo will still be in charge against fellow relegated Hertha BSC on 8 October. "We don't have any time to waste, we have two fundamentally important games ahead of us - Paderborn and Berlin," said sporting director André Hechelmann at the unusual time of the separation.
But Schalke's sporting leadership duo indicated that there was no other option. "We have found that the situation is deadlocked in terms of people and content," said Knäbel about the talks with the team in recent days and expressed self-criticism: "I have already expressed several times that I would like to see continuity in this position. So of course it's a step backwards."
Because Reis was already the eleventh coach of the battered district giant since the runner-up in 2018. This was followed by an unprecedented crash with two relegations. Rapid improvement is not in sight. Before the eighth matchday, the relegated team is third last in the 2nd Bundesliga with only seven goals and seven points, and four defeats already counteract the high ambitions, which may be too high in view of the loss of important players in the summer - as Knäbel also indicated on Wednesday.
In addition, the club is currently giving a picture that takes the slogan "GEmeinsam", which is overused at Schalke - the first two letters are capitalized in reference to the city of Gelsenkirchen - ad absurdum. Now Reis, who was still the hope in the summer despite the relegation, because he had stabilized the stumbling team in the Bundesliga relegation battle for a long time, is said to have lost the dressing room, at least partially. For some time now, there has been whispering behind closed doors about tactical and training-specific deficits in Reis.
How deep the rifts with parts of the obviously difficult team actually were, revealed a memorable TV interview by defender Timo Baumgartl after Saturday's 1-3 defeat at FC St. Pauli. "That's madness, we're playing with fire," Baumgartl said on Sky and made no effort to conceal criticism of the coach's tactics. "That's the coach's philosophy, he tells us that. That's why we do it as a team. But it's clear when you look at the first 30 minutes that it's brutally difficult when the opponent does it well. Standing one-on-one at the back again and again is risky."
The receipt for this blatant criticism was Baumgartl's suspension. This was still seen as backing for rice. Further internal discussions, however, apparently led those responsible to realize that it will be difficult to turn the tide in the current constellation. "I defend myself against the formulation that the team has coaches on its conscience. I don't see the causality, because it assumes intention," Knäbel replied vehemently to the appearance that the team had recently revealed serious character weaknesses, but also emphasized: "Of course, the team is now challenged." dpa