By Oliver Trust
One could say that it requires the qualities of an invincible action movie hero to survive the job as head coach at the Bundesliga club, Schalke 04.
The fact that the Royal Blues have worn out nine managers in 11 years, at least to some extent, explains David Wagner’s hopeless situation. The 48-year-old former Huddersfield manager is the club’s 10th incumbent.
Things haven’t improved at all after Wagner failed to win one of last season’s final 16 games. They also suffered a devastating start to the current campaign after being thrashed 8-0 by 2020 treble winner Bayern Munich.
Struggling Schalke has been shaken to its core yet again. Several possible successors have been named at a time when the club is also having to deal with significant financial problems. The current mood has hit rock bottom.
Wagner’s time in Gelsenkirchen might soon expire as it seems only a win against Werder Bremen this Saturday evening can save him from being sacked.
Fans and half of the club are puzzling about who could be the rescuer leading the side out of this deep crisis. Former Schalke and Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick is one name in the list.
Wagner is putting a brave face on everything and is optimistic about sparking a successful turnaround despite reports he has already lost his players’ trust.
Buddies such as Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp speak about their relationship and have become even closer. “I never thought how much I would cross my fingers for Schalke,” the 2019 Champions League winner said about the growing number of phone calls between him and the best man at his wedding.
Currently, it seems doubtful if the support can help Wagner to get things back to place.
Reports speak about Schalke’s financial bottlenecks as one reason why Jochen Schneider hasn’t fired the coach yet. The club’s director has come under fire. Fans accuse him of being fatally inactive while Wagner is under attack due to his misleading tactical approach.
Players are also accused of lacking the right mentality.
Potential successors for Wagner don’t seem to be queuing up at the outfit’s headquarters, but there may well be a new coach installed if the run of defeats continues.
Due to the crisis on the pitch, the club’s plans to outsource its professional section and allow investors to join have been postponed as have talks about the second round of wage cuts for the squad.
Players such as new arrival Gonzalo Paciencia are trying to spread optimism and are counting on football’s unwritten laws.
“Football is wonderful. If we beat Bremen, everything is forgotten, and nobody remembers all the chaos,” the striker commented.
Optimism never seems to dry out for the Royal Blues, not even now, as many expect the club to react as they always do by sacking their coach and prepare to welcome coach number 11 since 2009.