Felix Magath’s side pulled off an impressive 3-0 win at home against Olympique Lyon in mid-week to secure their place in the Champions League round of sixteen. Finally, things were beginning to look up for the Konigsblauen. A weekend fixture away to Kaiserslautern was never going to be easy based on the home side’s form, but no one anticipated a 5-0 drubbing. I wonder what the odds were on that happening?
Schalke’s president, Clemens Tonnies, spoke to Bild about the disastrous result and the overall campaign so far:
“I am absolutely shocked by this result. For all the euphoria from the Champions League to be shattered by a newly-promoted team, that is a hammer blow. The coach and manager Felix Magath now has to explain how we get out of this. ?We are talking about the performance of the team. I have no worries about Schalke getting relegated. But I had and have a much higher expectation in Felix Magath than just survival.”
And who didn’t have much higher expectations for Schalke this season? It’s all come as a big shock to Bundesliga fans, many of whom expected Schalke to be challenging and maybe winning the title that they only just missed out on last season. Still, with the track record Felix Magath has, there’s no one better for the club right now than the man in charge. If anyone can dig them out of this hole, it’s him. Unfortunately, there are very few signs of that happening anytime soon.
In an attempt to turn the team’s fortunes around, Magath has cut Schalke’s winter break to just four days instead of the regular two weeks. His disciplinary style may not be what the team needs after so many disappointing defeats. A little time away from football might allow some of Schalke’s more mentally depleted players to take a breather and then return to the side with a clearer head and a lot more focus. That could all backfire for Felix Magath, but really, what hasn’t this season?
Many will criticize Magath for his side’s performances, but is it his fault if Christoph Metzelder concedes a penalty or fails to track a runner, or if Jermaine Jones and Jose Jurado fail to impress in midfield, or if Edu and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar fail to score? Some will say it absolutely is. He’s the one who buys the players, and so far many of them have failed to impress. Schalke paid 11 million Euros for Jurado and I expected a lot more from him than what he’s shown early on in his Bundesliga career. Huntelaar is a prolific goal-scorer, but only if he gets decent service from the midfield and he’s been rarely getting it at all this season.
Magath has also conceded that with the team doing so poorly, he may be fighting a losing battle in terms of keeping hold of some of Schalke’s top players, namely Manuel Neuer and Ivan Rakitic. That’s all bad news for Schalke supporters, and what’s worse? Borussia Dortmund are top of the league!
Are any of you readers big Schalke fans? What’s your take on Magath and the state of affairs at the club? Comments!