Gelsenkirchen (dpa) – Bitter experience instead of a successful comeback. This time, Huub Stevens was denied entry in his heart club history books.
Even the footballer, who was revered at Schalke as the ‘coach of the century’, could not dispel the trauma without a victory. Even under the direction of the 67-year-old who was reactivated the day before as Manuel Baum’s successor, the side appeared as a relegated side in the 1-0 (0-0) against Bielefeld. Despite the terrible record with the last 29 games without success, Stevens refused to surrender: “Do we have to give up? The last one is to give up. We will keep fighting and hope for a little luck.”
But most observers now have no imagination as to how the Revierclub wants to avoid relegation with a yield of only four points from 13 games. None of the four teams in league history with an equally poor record at this point of the season managed to stay in the league.
In addition, Tasmania Berlin’s historic record set in the 1965/66 season with 31 games without a win is just two Bundesliga games away. Stevens hopes the Revierclub will be spared the shame of surpassing this record: “The day will come when we win again. Believe me.”
However, should a victory in the Bundesliga succeed again, it should not be recognized as an asset to Stevens. Stevens answered questions about a possible extension of his engagement in his own way – with the message between the lines: “Surprise yourself. But I’d love to be home in peace for Christmas. Even on New Year’s Eve.”
Next Tuesday, Stevens will be on the Schalke bench again in the cup match against the regional division SSV Ulm, after which the mission is over. The club management will then provide information about the succession plan. Jochen Schneider already has a concrete successor in mind. “Yes”, the sports director answered a question about Sky before the game against Bielefeld. He didn’t name any names, though: “Let’s see, we’ll announce that when the time comes.”
According to reports, it could amount to Friedhelm Funkel. The former Düsseldorf coach is only a few days younger than Stevens, but should fit the requirements profile. A seasoned coach who has a lot of experience in relegation battles and is considered a person with respect even for difficult to coach teams would certainly be helpful.
Other candidates are Alexander Zorniger (53) and Dimitrios Grammozis (42). Former Darmstadt coach Grammozis confirmed on “ran.de” that there were already contacts with the club even before Baum’s commitment: “It is true, I had very good conversations with those responsible for Schalke at the time, but in the end then the club changed, but chose Manuel Baum. “
Baum / Stevens’ successor faces an almost impossible task. He should have realized that when he watched the game against Bielefeld. There was a lot of running and fighting, but seldom expertly combined. Moreover, the defensive behavior when Bielefeld’s attacker Fabian Klos (53rd minute) hit a header for a first division team was unworthy. But license boss Sascha Riether also resorted to persistence slogans: “At the moment nobody believes anything. But in football everything is always possible. Now we have to draw the right conclusions and then enter the relegation battle with courage and strength.”
After all, there is a little break after the cup game to get to your senses. “It has been a disastrous year. It is incredibly bitter what happened. We are all dragging the failure with us,” complained sports director Schneider. Hopes for a more successful 2021 are fading.