- Huub Stevens will coach Schalke 04 until the end of the season as new coach.
- He is assisted by co-trainer Mike Büskens and team manager Gerald Asamoah.
- Stevens relies on "Schalke virtues" – but also on fun.
Just under three years ago, Huub Stevens actually ended his coaching career. Reason: cardiac arrhythmia. In February 2016, he resigned at TSG Hoffenheim and declared: "To look after a team in the relegation battle, you have to be 120 percent fit – the risk is too large."
That the 65-year-old Dutchman is now back on the bench for a maximum of two months in the fight against relegation, is due to the fact that he himself is supposedly very well, the FC Schalke 04 but not at all. Commenting on his comeback at the Gelsenkirchen club, Stevens says, "I'm a blue-and-white, and if the club has such problems and asks me for help, it's very hard to say no."
On Thursday evening Schalke new sports director Jochen Schneider had the coach Domenico Tedesco, 33, after seven winless games with 5:24 goals on leave – some say: redeemed. This was difficult for him, because Schneider emphasizes again and again, what a "fine guy" Tedesco is "and what he has done for the club." Recently, however, you could not pull the "lost cart in the given constellation" from the mud. "We could not continue this way," said Schneider, and so on Thursday they have reactivated some alumni for Royal Blue: In addition to Stevens, who is a member of the board, also the former Schalke professional Mike Büskens, 50, as his assistant and the former public favorite Gerald Asamoah, 40, as team manager.
Stevens relies on "Schalke Virtues"
About Asamoah, Schneider says, "He has the enthusiasm, the passion, and the energy he needs now." This Schneider calls key qualifications that Tedesco could apparently no longer bring. Even Stevens, who had actually switched to a stress-free life, does not give the impression as if he intended to prepare the Schalke with yoga, breathing exercises and mindfulness training on the remaining nine league games. "What we need now," he says in his well-known tone, "are Schalke virtues," and above all he counts "struggle and passion."
By the end of the season Stevens, Büskens and Asamoah to look after the team, until then Schneider must find a new coach and a new sports director, because at Schalke in the summer everything is set to start. The emergency rescue trio now only has to make sure that this new beginning can be made in the Bundesliga. The Schalke threatens 31 years after the last Bundesliga relegation crash in the Zweitklassigkeit. "We are in an extremely difficult situation," says Schneider. "The situation is precarious," says Stevens. "We need a lot of energy now," says Büskens.
This wants to show the Schalke triumvirate to the players, but also the fans – and has the history of good cards. Under the "century coach" Stevens selected Schalke 1997 Uefa Cup winner, 2001 and 2002 DFB Cup winner and in 2001 for four minutes German champion. These are best references to make the Dutchman Schalke coach for the third time after 1996 (for six years) and 2011 (for 15 months). Stevens turns back the clock once: "Each player gets a new chance," he says – and wants before the Leipzig game this Saturday in the delicate goalkeeper question between Ralf Faehrmann, 30, and Alexander Nübel, 22, allegedly late decide. Stevens wants to bring back fun, "because without fun you can not bring any performance" – and fun had the Schalke under Tedesco last no more.
"He has always been exemplary committed," wrote the club the outgoing coach nonetheless in the virtual testimony, but anyone who is familiar with certificate language, knows what such a phrase means. Under Tedesco Schalke finished second in the Bundesliga in 2018, but if you look at the record in 75 competitive games, then only 33 games were won and every third lost. The DFB Cup remains Schalke's last chance to play international again next season. But actually it's about the league. Schalke will welcome FC Augsburg on matchday three on the final day of play for VfB Stuttgart. In these duels could decide who must be in the relegation. Stevens is confident he will not be overwhelmed by the upcoming nerve test. "Right now, I'm fine," he says, "and I hope that's true in two months."