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Struggling Schalke name Baum as Wagner’s replacement

Berlin (AFP) – Cash-strapped Bundesliga strugglers Schalke 04 on Wednesday named Manuel Baum as head coach on a two-year contract with former club captain Naldo as his assistant.

After David Wagner was sacked on Sunday, his successor Baum, 41, is tasked with ending Schalke’s miserable 18-match winless streak in the Bundesliga dating back to January.

His first game in charge will be at Champions League semi-finalists RB Leipzig on Saturday.

“Our most urgent task is to quickly give the team a sense of achieving success again, in training and in games,” said Baum.

“I am convinced of the quality of our squad.”

Schalke have had 12 different coaches in the last decade and Baum insists he knows “what I’m doing and what I’m getting myself into”.

He returns to the Bundesliga having coached Augsburg from 2016 until being fired in April 2019 with the team just above the relegation places.

Since then he has coached the national Under-18 team.

Former Brazil defender Naldo, 38, who recently ended his playing career at Monaco, made 80 appearances for Schalke from 2016 until 2019.

“It feels good to be back at Schalke,” said the Brazilian.

“Everyone knows I took the club to my heart.

“I want to use everything I have learned in almost 19 years as a professional to support Manuel Baum.”

Naldo’s most famous goal for the Royal Blues was in November 2017 when his 94th minute header sealed a last-gasp 4-4 draw at rivals Dortmund as Schalke came back from four goals down.

Baum is described by Schalke sports director Jochen Schneider as “an absolute specialist”.

“His teams always had clear structures on the field.  This is a very important factor in our current situation,” Schneider added.

He sees Baum as being a “very good fit for Schalke”, but the new head coach will have to work with limited funds.

On Wednesday, Schalke announced a loss of 9.7 million euros ($11.4 million) in the first half of the year, increasing their debt to 205.3 million euros.

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