Gelsenkirchen (dpa) – The cheerful Huub Stevens started his short-term mission with a hearty “Glückauf” and added with a smile: “I’m on fire!”
In the hour of the greatest sports need, FC Schalke 04 falls back on proven methods and once again withdraws its coach of the century from retirement. The 67-year-old Dutchman should have the bottom of the Bundesliga table back on track by Christmas. The traditional club had previously announced the divorce from the unsuccessful Manuel Baum.
It is the second coach exchange of the current season. This means that Schalke has changed head coach more often this year than the team won. Former pro Mike Büskens will assist Stevens as an assistant coach. But the duo has little time until the home game against Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday (3.30 pm). “We certainly won’t change much. The important thing now is that the players get their heads free and are back with pleasure and pleasure,” Stevens said on Friday before practice. “It will certainly not be easy. The team has little confidence, but a sense of achievement is the best medicine,” said Stevens.
“The home game against Bielefeld is of great importance to our club. The disappointing performance against SC Freiburg has shown us that the team needs a new impulse to be able to play the game successfully,” said sports director Jochen Schneider, “Huub Stevens and We believe Mike Büskens is doing just that. “The decision against Baum was a lengthy process:” We were no longer convinced that we could make it in this line-up, “said Schneider, who also made the team responsible:” The boys have to turn around now. They have to throw everything in against Bielefeld. “
Schneider had held on to Baum for a long time, but the track was corrected one day before the home game against fellow rival Bielefeld and two days after the terrifying 2-0 draw against SC Freiburg.
Stevens, who is leaving the mandate of the supervisory board, will take over the coaching position at Schalke for the fourth time, if only for a few days. On Tuesday, Schalke will receive the regional division SSV Ulm in the cup. Then it must be over.
Most recently, Stevens had saved the royal blues between March and July 2019 as Domenico Tedesco’s successor from relegation. Now the tailor, who had come under criticism for his personnel policy, persuaded the veteran one more time. Schneider expects this to be a signal to leave. It must not fail because of Stevens’ motivation: “My blue and white heart is still beating. When the club is a mess I can’t say ‘no’.”
The 41-year-old Baum had only taken over the club from David Wagner after the second day of play, but in the meantime, despite the bright spots, has failed to turn things around. In ten Bundesliga matches he has drawn four and lost six. After twelve match days, Schalke is at the bottom of the table with just four points and a goal difference of 8:35. The team is waiting for a victory in a total of 28 Bundesliga matches.
Baum’s contract runs until June 30, 2022. With him and Wagner, the financially troubled club already has two coaches on the payroll this season. But that was not so important to Schneider given the “immense pressure”. “It’s no fun, but it’s easy to handle.”
How things will proceed after the renewed Stevens intermezzo is unclear. Schalke wants to inform about the succession plan after the cup match. “The decision-making is not yet complete”, emphasizes Schneider, who says he still feels the confidence of the supervisory board and for whom resignation is not an issue. “You don’t run away in a situation like this.”
Reports have it that a coach who has been tried in the relegation battle will take over until the end of the season in the new year. In conversation is Friedhelm Funkel, who recently trained Fortuna Düsseldorf. According to media reports, Stevens did not like that the plan should have come with sparkle from him. “I would never have a name on the outside.”
Funkel expressed himself in various media. “There is no contact at all. I am and will remain retired”, said the former Fortuna Düsseldorf coach, the “Express”. At “ran.de” he did not rule out a promise: “I just said that everything is open and that we are ultimately talking about unlaid eggs. I first want to see if Schalke 04 will contact me at all.”