Wednesday, August 25, 2021
After all, a Schalke celebrates
From hell to the Champions League
By Tobias Nordmann
FC Schalke 04 fights for form and points in the 2nd Bundesliga. Actually, the club wants to correct the industrial accident “relegation” quickly, but the start does not succeed. Things are going much better with ex-trainer David Wagner, who now works in Switzerland.
David Wagner knows that. As the coach of FC Schalke 04, life is sometimes not always nice. After a remarkable start in the 2019/20 season, the “Royal Blues” collapsed in the second half of the season and experienced historical football horror. Wagner and his team were in despair. Nothing succeeded anymore. Also not in the following season, which started with a 0: 8 at Bayern and ended for Wagner on the second match day after a 1: 3 against Werder Bremen. The trainer was released on September 27th last year.
For Wagner it was a disappointment. And a release. After 18 games without a win, the situation had become unbearable for him. For most fans, it was already unstoppable after the end of the disastrous preseason. The bosses decided otherwise – and were not rewarded for holding on. Four other coaches tried to prevent the club from crashing after Wagner. But neither Manuel Baum, Huub Stevens and Christian Gross were able to stabilize the team in the long term. Dimitrios Grammozis was finally only able to finalize the descent and is now supposed to take care of the successful rebuilding. What has only worked moderately well in league two so far. The first fans are already loudly calling for a new coach change.
Ex-Dortmund fails to ex-Schalke
They are worries that are very far removed from David Wagner. He’s in a party mood. With his new club, Young Boys Bern, the ex-Schalke celebrates the greatest success of his coaching career. Wagner plays the Champions League for the first time this season. In the duel of the former Bundesliga coach, he prevailed against Peter Stögers Ferencvaros Budapest. After the 3-2 win in the first leg, the Swiss also won 3-2 (1-2) in Hungary’s capital and reached the group stage again after two unsuccessful attempts.
The former Cologne and Dortmund coach Stöger led Ferencvaros 2-1 after 27 minutes, which would have been enough for the second entry into the group stage in a row. Christian Fassnacht (56th) and Felix Mambimbi (90th + 3) turned the game for the guests. Budapest weakened itself with yellow-red for Aissa Laidouni (64th). At the moment of his greatest success, Wagner also thanked his predecessor Gerry Seoane, who is currently creating a spectacle with Bayer Leverkusen. “I would like to thank Gerry who made it possible for us to play internationally,” the German coach was quoted as saying in the newspaper “Blick”.
“If I can do something, then celebrate”
But before things really get going in the premier class – the groups will be drawn on Thursday – Wagner treats himself and his team to a party break. And that should turn out to be quite generous. “If I can do something a little, then it’s partying,” says Wagner. However, the thing is like this: Exaggeration is not the order of the day, because things are not going as well in the league as they are on the way to the premier class. After three match days, the Young Boys only have four points. Just as many, by the way, as currently FC Schalke 04, which has already played four times.
At the beginning of the year, when the Gelsenkirchen team were still playing in the first division, Wagner warned of the consequences of relegation and criticized his former employer heavily. “This relegation will not do Schalke any good,” he said in an interview with Sport1. “The problems are complex and everyone has now become aware of that. It is not just about a starting point that is helpful so that the key to the solution can be found.” He also referred to many injuries and “financial shackles” in transfers.
For years, “too many high-value contracts with a long term with little sporting quality” had been concluded. “Schalke 04 is now breaking the neck,” said Wagner. He himself had received false promises regarding the existing budget. With the announced funds, he had drawn up a realistic three-year plan, but “eight weeks later there was nothing left of this budget. And that was before the pandemic,” said Wagner.