‘I’m deflated, angry and I could cry’ – Schalke’s 2020 crisis going from bad to worse

Benjamin Stambouli Omar Mascarell Salif Sane Schalke GFX

On the morning of Tuesday, November 24, Schalke tweeted a Happy Birthday message to midfielder Nabil Bentaleb.

“There’s no question that he’s a great footballer,” Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider said in a statement.

“But, we have established that Schalke and Nabil Bentaleb clearly aren’t a good fit.

“There’s nothing in this moment that has led to this, but rather, it was part of a process. We will part ways by summer 2021 at the latest.”

The same day, Schalke also suspended Amine Harit and announced that Vedad Ibisevic’s contract would be dissolved to allow him to find a new club in January,

Harit had reacted negatively after being taken off before half-time by new head coach Manuel Baum during their 2-0 loss to Wolfsburg, the Miners’ 24th game without a win in the Bundesliga– a run stretching back to January.

Baum was appointed as the replacement to former Huddersfield boss David Wagner, who was sacked after opening the 2020-21 campaign with back-to-back defeats.

Club legend Naldo was also brought back as Baum’s assistant but made headlines for the wrong reasons when he was involved in a training ground bust-up withIbisevic.

Schenider claims that Ibisevic’s own exile was not caused by the altercation with Naldo, but was a more long-term issue for player and club.

“From our perspective, it makes sense to end our cooperation and to leave on good terms. I’ve known Vedad for several years, both as a person and as a player. Unfortunately, Schalke hasn’t proven to be the right fit that we had promised each other.

“I would like to make it clear that this decision has nothing to do with the emotional outburst in training last Sunday – that’s something that can happen in football.”

The three suspensions – Bentaleb, Harit and Ibisevic – came on the back of the Wolfsburg defeat, which saw striker Mark Uth give a surprisingly honest and emotional interview after the match.

“I’m so deflated and angry at the moment, I could just go into the dressing room and cry,” Uth told Sky Germany .

“It’s so sad to show up here every time and play such toothless football.Every time, we come up a step too late.

“We don’t even show up for the duels, can’t come anywhere close to getting a yellow card. I have no idea how we’re supposed to win playing like this.”

Schalke’s Twitter account had a busy day on Bentaleb’s birthday. As well as suspending players, the Gelsenkirchen club also decided to part ways with technical director Michael Reschke.

The writing had been on the wall for Reschke after reports emerged that he hadattempted sell midfielder Omar Mascarell to Hertha Berlin without informing either Schneider or Mascarell about the negotiations.

Reschke had also pushed for Wagner to be sacked in the summer, but Schneider kept faith in his man before being forced to replace the German-American after an 8-0 defeat to Bayern Munich was followed by a 3-1 home defeat to Werder Bremen– a side who only narrowly avoided relegation last season.

In 2020, Schalke isthe ultimate crisis-hit club. As well as the turmoilin the dressing room and on the pitch, they are suffering from a coronavirus financial hit, and have had various injury concerns during the year.

Currently, they have no fit senior left-back in the squad and injuries to key players such as Suat Serdar,Salif Sane and Mascarellsaw them struggle under Wagner during the second half of last season.

Fortunately for Wagner, fans were not allowed into the stadium for many of the defeats on Schalke’s winless run.

Unfortunately for Schalke, having no supporters at games meant more financial problems.

After reporting debts of almost €200 million (£180m/$240m) for 2018-19, they tried to introducecost-cutting measures, such as refusing to give refunds on season tickets despite fans not being able to attend games due to coronavirus restrictions, and offloading many low-paid employees.

These moves caused outrage among supporters and the media, forcing chief marketing officerAlexander Jobst to claim that the club had lost a lot of trust and credibility.

“Schalke’s public image has been extremely poor in the past few months,” he admitted at a press conference. “We would like to apologise for the mistakes we have made.”

Jobst backed Schneider as the man to turn things around, with the club’s goal now to secure safety in the Bundesliga rather than European qualification, despite having been a regular in the Champions League knockout stage in the 2010s.

Schalke’s huge debts saw them impose a salary cap, reported to be €2.5m (£2.2m/$3m) per player, as well as secure a €40m (£36m/$48m)bailoutfrom the state government.

“We need to take a step back so that we can grow again in the future,” Schneider said. “We can’t dream anymore.”

Once Germany’s most successful team, Schalke now have to think small. But their immediate hope is for a win before they break the Bundesliga record for a winless run.

Even the current holders, Tasmania Berlin, want Schalke to win before they reach the magic number of 31 matches without victory.

Source : goal.com