28 Bundesliga games without a win, table position 18: FC Schalke 04 crashes towards the fourth relegation in club history – the result of a fatal error in all areas of the club.

The question of what Jochen Schneider’s facial expression could look like behind the mask has not been asked by Schalke fans for months. After all, they already know the answer.

Among the royal blue supporters, the motionless face of the sports management has long since become an expression of the crisis FC Schalke 04 has been struggling with for nearly a year, as it expresses the three words that best paraphrase this horror series of 28 winless Bundesliga matches: horror, lethargy. , fatigue.

Photo series with 15 photos

Last week, Schneider’s board of directors wrote an open letter to Schalke members and fans. A remarkable historical gesture. But the content was bitter to many of the miners ‘fans: Schneider and his colleagues expressed their understanding of the fans’ displeasure and the displeasure that you currently cannot vent your anger at the stadium or during the public training sessions, which are actually so sacred to Schalke; However, the supporters did not accuse them of being the main culprits of the deplorable atmosphere in the club.

Board postpones necessary general meeting

“A line is crossed when individuals are proclaimed bogeymen by name or found guilty only,” or also, “No individual and no group is above the welfare of the association,” the letter from the council said. of board. These two sentences in particular lack a certain humorous note, as you can currently see how those “individuals” on Schalke who withdraw with the letter do a lot to save their own skin.

In concrete terms, this concerns an important event that was also discussed in the open letter: the extraordinary general meeting. After the resignation of former commissioner Clemens Tönnies, this is urgently required under association law, but it is postponed by the board with the excuse of an impossible presence due to the corona pandemic. Quite a few Schalke fans wonder: if the CDU, Germany’s largest party, gets a legally valid digital party convention off the ground, why can’t Germany’s second-largest football club be after the members?

One could argue that a heated, controversial general assembly at these times could create further unrest threatening the association’s very existence. On the other hand, this lively debate and major body replacement could be the injection of adrenaline that brings Schalke back to life.

Because one thing is clear: both the board of directors around sporting director Jochen Schneider and the supervisory board around interim boss Dr. Jens Buchta is a miserable picture. And that’s because neither body takes action.

Schneider has acted inconsistently since taking office

Schneider’s tenure with Schalke kicked off with a bang in the spring of 2019: the official’s first official act, poached by RB Leipzig, fired hard-working but this season unfortunate vice-champion coach Domenico Tedesco – only to get a Hire and announce. Fire culture as before will no longer exist under him at Schalke.

Jochen Schneider: When it was officially presented in March 2019, the sports director still exuded a spirit of optimism. (Source: Review photo / image images)

For the next 20 months or more, Schneider brought David Wagner to the coach: the former American national player had won the Uefa Cup as an additional player with the S04 in 1997. He coached the traditional club Huddersfield Town with assault football (and many luck) to the Premier League, that he didn’t bring tactical variability to the club in the following months despite only a razor-sharp relegation and so during the second Premier League season as When the bottom of the table was fired, Schneider didn’t seem to follow to think. Wagner was previously touted as the lid of the Schalke pot, “because he knows the club and lives emotional football”.

And that was what Wagner did, at least for a while. Because after a furious first half of the season, the team historically collapsed: the still-running winless series began. Wagner became more and more quiet, more and more introverted, football decisions are increasingly chilling. Rather than qualifying for the European Cup, which it was thought to be certain, it was only 12th for Schalke at the end of the season. However, Schneider did not consider firing the helpless coach: he wanted to stand firm.

Despite all concerns about his position, Schneider did little with his power: although he said goodbye to “member” Wagner after the second day of the current season. However, he has barely fulfilled his true core competence, captivating and selling players and assembling a functioning team. Under his auspices, only two players, Ozan Kabak and Benito Raman, joined FC Schalke 04 and are currently permanent staff. One, Kabak, was personally pulled from Stuttgart by shift planner Michael Reschke, who has since been fired, while the other, Raman, was hired before Schneider took office in the winter of 2018/2019.

Schalke looks at a miserable transfer record

Schneider can book unfortunate loan deals almost exclusively for himself. Whether it was the failed Juan Miranda and Michael Gregoritsch, or fan favorite and regular Jonjoe Kenny, who – despite the player’s wishes – could not be tied to Schalke in the long term due to a lack of buying option.

But the truth is also that he has to do with the legacy of his predecessor Christian Heidel, such as Nabil Bentaleb, Hamza Mendyl and Sebastian Rudy, who together cost more than 40 million euros in transfer fees. This also means that the Corona crisis has completely eaten up already limited room for reinforcements. Nevertheless, Schneider faces decisions such as the gruesome contract extension of Guido Burgstaller, who has since moved to FC St. Pauli, and the release of service provider and co-captain Daniel Caligiuri himself.

Christian Heidel (left) signed Sebastian Rudy for 16 million euros in 2018 and provided the ex-international with an annual salary of six million euros. (Source: Image Images / RHR Photo)Christian Heidel (left) signed Sebastian Rudy for 16 million euros in 2018 and provided the ex-international with an annual salary of six million euros. (Source: RHR Photo / Image Images)

It is in large part Schneider’s job that Manuel Baum took over the suicide mission on the third matchday of the current season, which Bundesliga fans also witnessed on the 12th matchday ended: a person who was still very susceptible, but insecure to the bone. Schalke’s team struggled for 90 minutes against a weak SC Freiburg by playing football – with the sport’s most rudimentary components – to get a well-deserved 0-2 home defeat. Typical is the scene in which top defensive talent Ozan Kabak slipped after a positional error and buried his head in the grass of the Veltins-Arena. It was the definitive sign of desolation, waving the white flag. The players seem exhausted. And the hardworking and ambitious educator Manuel Baum will not be able to change anything in this situation in the short term.

One of the emotions is Schalke’s ray of hope

But, with all the dance of death, is there still a ray of hope for the S04? Absolutely.

On the one hand, there is the current situation in the table: Schalke is at the bottom of the table with only four points after twelve games, but Cologne in 15th place has only six points left. Two wins in two possible defeats for the Domstadt team – and Schalke would be close to shore again. Precisely because the competition from FC, Mainz and Bielefeld scores at a comparable level to Schalke, a snail race for relegation could arise on the course of the 22 remaining games. It’s impossible to imagine how quickly Schalke could catch up with the other relegation candidates if they started even a little bit of success. But for that you need something else that gives hope: and that is frustration.

If Mark Uth (up front) manages to channel his frustration and pull his teammates along, Schalke can return stronger from the short winter break. (Source: image images / polar photo)If Mark Uth (up front) manages to channel his frustration and pull his teammates along, Schalke can return stronger from the short winter break. (Source: Polar photo / image images)

Schalke will need more players in the coming weeks, such as Mark Uth, who is currently missing with a concussion. Players who don’t shake the bushes, but rummage and stick their fingers in the wound. That makes it clear to their teammates: this is also about our careers.

The transfer window starting January 1 will be a pivotal point for the S04: will Schneider manage to find creative solutions that help the club on the ground, despite limited financial resources? Will Baum be able to quickly and systematically integrate new acquisitions into the team? Will Schalke find buyers for players like Bentaleb and Mendyl?

Only when these questions have been clarified and Schalke has in the meantime scored three points, can dreaming in Gelsenkirchen begin again. From relegation – and possibly even from a new coach with a clear tactical basic design and an unstoppable heart for FC Schalke 04: Domenico Tedesco. The second coach is leaving his contract with Spartak Moscow, which will run until the summer of 2021 – and has been playing publicly in recent months with a return to Gelsenkirchen. After all, you know afterwards what you got from the other.

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