Et are supposed little things that spoil the Schalke’s life in difficult times: the malicious joy of others. Or, as the Royal Blues like to call the not entirely new, but now increasingly occurring phenomenon themselves – Schalke bashing.
There is this video of a mother and her son, both easily recognizable Schalke fans, who sit in the stands in Regensburg and scold backwards (“Where have you been in the first division?”) And after there were audible insults , throwing what could have been a bratwurst. Or there is this cartoon by Oli Hilbring, the Bochum draftsman with a penchant for football, called “Spielfrauen privat”. A little boy in a Schalke jersey is playing in the sandpit and asks his mother: “Mom, where is dad?” She replies: “On dismantling in Regensburg.”
The latter is an apt description of what happened to Dimitrios Grammozis’ team on Saturday: The Bundesliga relegated team lost 4-1 at Jahn Regensburg. That was a great assist for non-Schalke players. The fact that the Regensburg team are currently the team of the hour in the young second division season does not matter.
“Want to trust us to do something, but don’t”
After four game days, the 13th table, for whom it was already the second defeat of the season, was able to gain an impression of what will be the greatest challenge for them in the coming months. The most popular German club after Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will have to adjust to the fact that the pressure on the team will remain high – and that everything will be called into question after every setback. The impatient atmosphere and high expectations that have made it so difficult for Hamburger SV to rise again for years now surrounds Schalke. Not surprisingly, it is still not easy to deal with.
Rouven Schröder therefore sees the decisive issue less in terms of technology or tactics. “That is the subject of body language,” said the sports director, who, together with sports director Peter Knäbel, had put together an almost completely new squad over the past few months. The players would have to appear different, above all more self-confidently. “We are Schalke, the chest has to go,” he demanded. As if it were that easy. The desperate appearance of Regensburg was exemplary.
“We want to trust ourselves to do something, but then don’t do it,” says Schröder. The dilemma was already evident when the first goal was conceded. The requirement of Grammozis to build up with clean passes was nervously implemented by goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann, anyway not a filigree technician – which subsequently led to a loss of the ball and the 0: 1. The three other Regensburg goals came after standard situations – defending them better is more a question of your head than of skill.
The problems also have little to do with the thesis of the thrown together team. Although Grammozis actually had eight entries in the starting line-up and thirteen on Saturday. “That can’t be an alibi,” explained Schröder. The players have to learn to “fight against it and pull themselves out of difficult situations.” Schröder also took the coach into account in his analysis. It is about not only relying on playful moments, but also on “things like robustness and responsibility”.
Personnel expenses are to be reduced to 25 million
In fact, the team, this is the responsibility of Grammozis, should be further than it is currently presented. It is true that the personnel upheaval in German club football over the past few months is unparalleled. Nine professionals were signed and six on loan from other clubs.
There are also three players who were pulled up from their own offspring in the second half of the relegation season. 27 players, on the other hand, left Schalke. It was only last week that big earners like Matija Nastasic and Omar Marscarell managed to get off the payroll. Further outlets are being tinkered with. The aim is to reduce personnel expenses, which were over 100 million euros in the past calendar year, to around 25 million – and at the same time to build a team with good prospects.
This is a Herculean task in which the Schalke team, who knew early on that they would go to the second division, have made very good progress – at least in the first part. As far as sport is concerned, there is still a lot of catching up to do. This is also due to the fact that the games in the previous second half of the season were not suitable for acclimatizing the top performers of the future.
“A city in deep despair”
At that time Grammozis relied on its own young talents. At the weekend, on the other hand, almost exclusively to new players – which is also due to the fact that most of the highly traded miners’ forge kids have not yet ignited. Kerim Calhanoglu, Blenzi Idrizi and Can Bozdogan, in whom high hopes are placed, were not even part of the squad in Regensburg. The latter is even facing a loan to Besiktas Istanbul. He would be exit 28.
Schalke is still a building site in terms of sport, the pressure on Grammozis is growing. The 43-year-old, who has been in office since March, can hardly be blamed for the relegation, but voices are now louder that it was a mistake to entrust the rebuilding to him. The “restlessness” is now “multiplied” after the false start, said Schalke’s ex-trainer Peter Neururer to “Sport 1” and drew the perspectives in gloomy colors: “How painful that does. A city, even more than one city, is in deep despair. “
It’s not that far yet, of course. But should Schalke not win against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday, it could actually be uncomfortable for Grammozis.