Hailed as a savior just a few months ago, now released after heavy player criticism - FC Schalke 04 really seems to be able to cope with any coach. Shocked by the weak start to the second division, the Bundesliga relegated team has parted ways with previous head coach Thomas Reis.
“We are also very dissatisfied with the fact that we came to this decision so quickly,” admitted sports director Peter Knäbel afterwards - Reis had only been in office eleven months.
In the difficult game on Friday at SC Paderborn (6.30 p.m./Sky), interim coach Matthias Kreutzer should be 16th in the table. prepare in conjunction with assistant coach Mike Büskens. Since the search for a Reis successor is only now beginning and there is no new coach in sight, it is conceivable that the duo will also be responsible against fellow relegated Hertha BSC on October 8th. "We don't have time to waste, we have two fundamentally important games in front of us - Paderborn and Berlin," said sports director André Hechelmann at the unusual time of the separation.
“Stuck in person and in terms of content”
But Schalke's sporting leadership duo indicated that there was no other option. “We have found that the situation is deadlocked in terms of both people and content,” said Knäbel about the discussions with the team in the past few days and expressed self-criticism: “I have already said several times that I would like continuity in this position. That’s why "This is of course a step backwards."
Because Reis was already the eleventh coach of the beleaguered district giant since the runner-up in 2018. This was followed by an unprecedented crash with two relegations. There is no quick improvement in sight. Before the eighth matchday, the relegated team is third from bottom in the 2nd Bundesliga with just seven goals and seven points, and four defeats have already thwarted their high ambitions, which may be too high given the loss of important players in the summer - as Knäbel also indicated on Wednesday.
In addition, the club currently presents an image that reduces the overused slogan "TOGETHER" at Schalke - the first two letters are capitalized in reference to the city of Gelsenkirchen - to absurdity. Now Reis, who was still the beacon of 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 at least partially lost the dressing room. There have been whispers behind closed doors about Reis' tactical and training-specific deficits for some time now.
Memorable TV interview
A memorable TV interview by defender Timo Baumgartl after the 3-1 defeat at FC St. Pauli revealed how deep the trenches actually were with parts of the obviously difficult team. “This is crazy, we are 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 see the first 30 minutes that it's brutally difficult when the opponent does well. Again and again at the back Standing one against one is risky."
The payment for this blatant criticism was Baumgartl's suspension. This was seen as support for Reis. However, further internal discussions apparently made those responsible realize that it would be difficult to reverse the trend in the current situation. "I object to the formulation that the team has coach on its conscience. I don't see the causality because it assumes intent," replied Knäbel vehemently, seemingly saying that the team had recently revealed serious character weaknesses, but also emphasized: "It goes without saying the team is now challenged."