Christian Heidel was relieved when he made his way home on Saturday evening after the next chapter of a dangerous series of defeats. With 1:2 at Borussia Mönchengladbach, the Schalkers had also lost the third Bundesliga game of this season, whereupon the sports board had to express all sorts of gloomy thoughts about the future.
But most of his sets were full of optimism. “We rarely had so many chances away,” said Heidel, explaining that he was a “positive type” who, in such crisis situations, thinks less about imminent dangers than about opportunities that could “arise from them”. Above all, however, he paid homage to the fans who didn’t whistle, who didn’t demand coach dismissals and didn’t insult any players. The Schalker curve sang in the preview of the coming Bundesliga opponent: “Take off the Lederhosen from Bavaria!
That found Heidel “absolutely outstanding”, at least that part of the appendix, which was also in Mönchengladbach, is “very sensitive” with the fact that this season beginning more and more becomes a disaster. “They have a great understanding that not everything that was right before can be wrong all of a sudden. So the crisis virus has not yet spread to the emotional centre of the club, and to further strengthen the immune system, the Schalkers emphasised the positive aspects of this football evening with admirable consistency.
The team were “on the right track”, said coach Domenico Tedesco, who saw the main reason for the defeat as Gladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer “had a great day”, while Heidel explained that three defeats had happened before, but were particularly “unattractive” at the start of the season.
This argumentation is understandable, and the Schalkers also added a carefully dosed portion of self-criticism to their explanations in order to remain credible. The Gladbachers’ victory was “deserved”, said Heidel, but only because the Borussia had “efficiency there”, while the Champions League participant from the district wasted a whole series of the best possibilities for equalising after Matthias Ginter’s early goal. In reality, however, the strong Gladbachers were superior to FC Schalke on all levels except a quarter of an hour before half time and 20 minutes after the break.
The Schalker focus on the small, enjoyable things is a well thought-out strategy. The old self-cutting mechanisms, which traditionally affect the club in difficult sporting phases, are to be avoided with all their might. Before Heidel came to Gelsenkirchen, the powerful Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Clemens Tönnies, would have taken the floor at such a time via the “Bild” newspaper, expressed his great concern, and discredited the coach or the players in a few headline-suitable formulations.
They would have resisted, and the familiar image of the Chaos Club would promptly have been confirmed. The fact that such dynamics are not getting off the ground so quickly in the meantime is a great step forward, a credit to Heidel. What is missing, however, is progress on the pitch.
With all their efforts to emphasize the positive, the Schalkers were simply the worse team in many phases. Several individual mistakes happened, the attackers were far too harmless, and there is a problem with Sebastian Rudy, who was hired as the central figure in the defence. The national player’s playing abilities can be seen, but the former Munich player lacks the robustness required in this position. Again and again he gave opponents room for dribbling, passes and finishes, he invested far too little strength and energy in duels, defended timidly and still had cramps in the end. In this form Rudy is no reinforcement.
The crisis has thus finally broken over the club, especially as difficult matches against FC Porto in the Champions League and FC Bayern are imminent. Tedesco has no prior knowledge of such situations. Only once in his coaching career has he lost three games in a row, in the sheltered space of the VfB Stuttgart junior division. If you are looking for online casino games that offers big promos and bonuses, then Betsson if for you.
And at the end of the season, his team still played for the championship. But at the end of the evening Tedesco seemed surprisingly clear and “tidy”, as Heidel stated before he assured: “There is no helpless coach. That gives us a good feeling.”