Home » Business » Disillusionment and Humiliation: Coach Geraerts’ Debut Goes Terribly Wrong for FC Schalke 04

Disillusionment and Humiliation: Coach Geraerts’ Debut Goes Terribly Wrong for FC Schalke 04

Disillusionment instead of optimism – coach Karel Geraerts’ debut goes badly wrong. The 3-0 defeat in Karlsruhe makes it clear how much work still awaits the new coach of FC Schalke 04. And a fatal sign comes from the stands.

What a scene: After the footballers of FC Schalke 04 had reached the next low point, after they lost for the fourth time in a row and the saving shore in the 2nd Bundesliga became more and more out of sight, the tormented footballers crept along very slowly bowed heads to the guest block. Where the loyal fans were waiting, there was the next humiliation. An Ultra representative shouted loudly at the players who had been beaten 3-0 by Karlsruher SC, who didn’t do anything in the first 45 minutes and gave their new coach Karel Geraerts a terrible debut. During the game, the supporters took down the flags and stopped supporting.

The new man on the side only spoke briefly about what the fans were feeding into the conscience of the Royal Blue players. “For them, this is their life, it has to be our life too,” said the surprised Belgian, immediately formulating instructions for action for the coming weeks. They will be “brutal” in Gelsenkirchen, as the equally perplexed and angry Timo Baumgartl said. The player who paved the way for coach Thomas Reis’ dismissal with an interview a few weeks ago and was punished by the club for it.

Although only ten match days have been played, the situation is incredibly precarious. Schalke are already five points behind in 15th place, the first place that ensures they stay in the league. It’s all about nothing else, there’s nothing left to do with the targeted, direct return to the upper house. That was the clearly stated goal. But the team put together is not suitable for this. It’s currently not even suitable for stopping the crash. The frightening thing for every fan: Not only is playing football not working, but the team is lacking all the basics: passion and hard work. And this in a city that is built on these virtues. Relegation to the 3rd league is more realistic than ever before.

And if you don’t believe that, you only have to drive 136 kilometers to make sure that this horror scenario is not just a scenario. Arminia Bielefeld has experienced how quickly you can go from being a Bundesliga club to a club fighting for survival in the 3rd division. At least the Schalke team, in the person of Baumgartl, assure that they have understood what is now at stake. For points. To somehow get back in touch. How is this supposed to succeed? Of course, with hard work. They’ve been emphasizing this for weeks. But when the work is hard but the results are disastrous, what is there to be encouraged about?

Sure, Geraerts, the new man. Last season he caused a sensation with the Belgian club Union Saint-Gilloise in the Europa League, only failing in the quarter-finals against Bayer Leverkusen. Among other things, he formed the storm giant Victor Boniface, who is now shaking up the Bundesliga with Bayer. These stories give rise to the hope that the 41-year-old will also write good stories in Gelsenkirchen. And still from the feeling that there are enough top players and hard workers in the squad who can still form this unsettled collection into a unit. However, you shouldn’t rely on it.

Too much doesn’t go well, it doesn’t work at all. The defense is not worth the name. There have already been 23 goals conceded. Only once had a relegated team been more successful at this point: FC St. Pauli in the 2002/03 season. The new man doesn’t feel like whitewashing anything. This is perhaps the best news for Schalke. “I was very disappointed. I don’t scream often, but today I did at halftime.” He had previously said on Sky: “We didn’t respect the ABCs of football. We didn’t win any duels and didn’t react to the intensity.” But he also said: “The players don’t do it on purpose. Someone has to tell them what’s good or bad. I won’t shoot against the team, that’s not my style. It’s all about going out there together.”

Given their shockingly poor recent performances, it is hard to imagine that this was one of the worst things the Royal Blues have seen recently. The guests didn’t want to boast about the fact that things got a little better after the break. The claim is not “too bad underground,” said Baumgartl. “It can’t go on like this. These are phases in football that hurt incredibly. We have to make sure we score points as quickly as possible and even take home a dirty win.” Lars Stindl (22nd minute) and Igor Matanovic (37th) scored for KSC, which ended its winless streak and moved away from the relegation zone. Schalke’s defender Henning Matriciani also scored an own goal (75′).

But it’s not just the last chain that is a major construction site. The forward play once again only earned this name in very rare moments. Bryan Lasme missed a great chance against KSC in the first half. He forgave almost miserably. Creativity and conviction have long since left Gelsenkirchen. The new coach relied on veteran Ralf Fährmann in goal, a three-man defense and a very offensive orientation. But the shot backfired: with the old-school keeper, Schalke mostly chose the long ball in the build-up game, but it consistently ended up at the opponent.

There was nothing, absolutely nothing, of the “winning mentality” that Geraerts wanted to see from his players. “It can’t be that we ran six kilometers less than our opponents,” complained Baumgartl. These numbers are important indicators of passion. From Schalke’s perspective, these are shocking indicators. “I told the team that you can’t win if you don’t run. Numbers don’t lie, I saw that live on the pitch in the first half,” said Geraerts. “Everyone can expect,” the new coach promised, “that we will invest more.”

He will have to do this largely with the staff that is currently available to him. An offensive on the transfer market seems hardly conceivable from January. The traditional club has liabilities in the three-digit million range; at the end of last year, Schalke was in the chalk with 180 million. Now sleeve sponsor Hülsta also filed for bankruptcy. If things don’t work, the entire Emscher will spill over the dike.

Last winter the club borrowed players who enabled the club to have a furious second half of the season. Remaining in the league remained possible until the end after a horror first half of the season. He was missed, the loan players left. In order not to have to experience that again, the club adopted a new transfer philosophy. “We basically want to minimize them and ideally avoid them,” said sports director André Hechelmann about loan players. At least in the case of such a short-term commitment, we want to structure the contracts in the future “so that we can draw on options. Building squad value means that the players should belong to us. That is clearly our strategy.” Can Schalke continue to afford this? But what can the club actually afford? Now the most important credit seems to have been used up again: the support of the fans.

2023-10-23 21:21:01
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