The bus back to Gelsenkirchen left without Frank Kramer, the coach on leave sent warm words from afar. "I'm very grateful to be part of this great club," said the 50-year-old on Wednesday.
Just twelve hours after the 5-1 debacle in the DFB Cup at TSG Hoffenheim, FC Schalke 04, who was reeling, released the hapless Kramer as expected - a successor was not presented at the same time, but could be certain before the weekend.
The non-public training session on Wednesday was led by assistant coach Matthias Kreuzer. Mike Büskens, who, contrary to his ambitions, took over the position of head coach in the previous season and led his heart club back into the Bundesliga, should have no ambitions this time to even help out temporarily. More likely than another interim job for the other assistant coach is the commitment of a new head coach before the immensely important away game on Sunday (5:30 p.m. / DAZN) at Hertha BSC.
"Not worthy of FC Schalke 04"
Only one thing is certain - and Kramer knew that himself on Tuesday evening after the sporting oath of disclosure in Sinsheim: "Continue like this? That's definitely not possible!" Those responsible no longer trusted the 50-year-old to turn the tide. The problems in the last five competitive defeats in all parts of the team were too blatant.
But who should bring the team, which lacks so much in terms of quality, back on track in terms of sport? "Frank Kramer is a poor dog," Schröder had said meaningfully on Tuesday evening: "Who would like to swap places with him at the moment?" Thomas Reis, who was released from VfL Bochum in mid-September, would be available, and Schalke had already worked intensively with him before Kramer was signed. However, Reis still has a valid contract with VfL.
Disappointing summer arrivals
Other traded football teachers like Zsolt Löw or even Domenico Tedesco, who has never made a secret of the emotional connection to his ex-club, are more than questionable. The cash-strapped miners cannot pay a large salary anyway, since Kramer's predecessor, Dimitrios Grammozis, is still on the payroll. And in the next transfer period, Schalke will have to scrape together every euro to bring in new players because of the current lack of competitiveness.
"Everyone has to think about it, I include myself in that," said Schröder, who is responsible for the transfers, self-critically. Of the summer newcomers, the completely overwhelmed defense chief Maya Yoshida and the ineffective attacker Sebastian Polter were particularly disappointing. Perhaps it was also a mistake that the club did not take the economic risk of the possible commitments of the promotion heroes Ko Itakura (now Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Darko Churlinov (FC Burnley) and sold its defensive jewel Malick Thiaw to AC Milan. The newly formed team lacks quality - and apparently also lacks cohesion.
The principle of hope remains until the winter break. The coach falls away as a scapegoat, the players have a duty. He "clearly communicated that to the team," revealed Schröder. With a desolate attacking and defensive performance like against Hoffenheim "we can't survive in Berlin". The bloodless performance made Kramer "almost speechless", for Schalke it was the low point: "It couldn't be worse."