Labour of love – new boss Grammozis committed to keeping Schalke up

Berlin (AFP) – New Schalke head coach Dimitrios Grammozis insists his appointment is a match made in heaven with only a short honeymoon period before Friday’s crucial home Bundesliga match against Mainz.

Grammozis finally said ‘I do’ on Tuesday to coaching Schalke after two rounds of contract talks last year came to nothing, which he compared to a lengthy courtship.

“The important thing is to keep at it when you are convinced of the bride,” Grammozis said in his first press conference on Wednesday in Gelsenkirchen.

“Since I come from the region, I know what makes Schalke 04 tick, what makes the people here tick,” added Grammozis, who was born in nearby Wuppertal.

The 42-year-old Greek-German has little time to prepare for his first game against second-from-bottom Mainz, who are one place and eight points above Schalke in the table.

“I’m really looking forward to the task and know what I’m getting myself into,” insisted Grammozis, whose contract is also valid for the second division.

This is his first coaching job in the Bundesliga having last been in charge of second-division Darmstadt.

He is Schalke’s fifth head coach this season and takes charge with the Royal Blues having won just one league game all season.

Schalke have spent the last 30 years in the Bundesliga and Grammozis has just 11 games left to stop them going down.

He replaces Christian Gross who was sacked on Sunday as part of a mass cleanout of Schalke’s management in the wake of a 5-1 thrashing by Stuttgart.

Grammozis is the latest head coach after Schalke sacked David Wagner, Manuel Baum and Gross already this season.

Dutch veteran Huub Stevens was caretaker coach for two games in December.

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