Game of truth for schalke coach wagner

Like many other soccer clubs, FC schalke 04 has a betting provider as a sponsor. Before each season, he offers a bet on which bundesliga coach will be the first to go. Schalke coach david wagner, of all people, heads this potential ejection list from schalke’s sponsor.

"Quotas are based on deployment behavior and probabilities – unfortunately not on wishes," the company explained: "what we wish for is a successful season with david wagner."

Between the issue of the bet and the crisis duel on saturday evening (18.30 o’clock/sky) against werder bremen lay a 0:8 at FC bayern for the league opener, which jochen schneider called "bitter, disappointing and desastros. As a result, even the sporting director shows at least slight tendencies to move away from the coach. Schneider was always wagner’s ally, he trimmed him after the 16 round-robin games without a win so far, even against internal resistance.

But after names of potential successor candidates were mentioned during the week – such as ex-mainz player sandro schwarz, former stuttgart player alexander zorniger or schalker player icon marc wilmots – schneider evaded the question of whether there was a plan b for the coaching post. "I didn’t like to answer that question," the 50-year-old replied meaninglessly.

It seems clear: schneider wants to have room to maneuver after another frustrating experience against bremen. It is the realization of experience. About a week and a half after taking office in march 2019, schneider had promised then-coach domenico tedesco before the champions league match at manchester city that he would also sit on the bench next weekend. When the game ended 0:7, tedesco immediately lost his job.

The game in manchester was "too violent," schneider said at the time. And the experience last friday in munich, with the second-highest defeat in schalker’s bundesliga history, was also too intense. Yes, too violent was perhaps already the experienced with the longest series of defeats in the history of schalke. "Last season’s jolting round is a rucksack that everyone – including david wagner – is carrying around with them," said schneider: "I definitely can’t brush that aside. The key question is whether we can turn things around. Whether we’ll manage to pull out the cart that’s stuck in the mud again." In any case, he expects "a significant improvement in performance, which will also be reflected in the result".

Probably means: the game against bremen will be the game of truth for wagner. In the event of a defeat, things will get tight for the 48-year-old. In the event of a defeat with a disappointing performance, it was allowed to be his last game as schalke coach despite a contract that runs until 2022 and a financially strained situation. He was in the 58. In the second season, he became only the fourth coach in the history of the bundesliga after rinus michels (koln 1983), morten olsen (koln 1995) and dieter hecking (hannover 2009) to lose his job after just the second matchday.

Small consolation for wagner: even in last season’s ejection list, he – having just arrived from huddersfield – was favored by the club’s premium partner for the first dismissal. In the end, the 18 clubs parted company with their head coaches nine times during the season. Wagner stayed. Still.