Schalke 04 is in a tight spot and David Wagner has to feel his head on the chopping block, but all he has to do is make it to the end of the season.
David Wagner wowed all of Gelsenkirchen with the inspired Schalke 04 performances in the first half of the season and, since then, he has completely failed. Failed so badly, in fact, that many have been calling for his removal for months now.
There are a lot of factors working against Wagner’s ability to find cohesion in his side, not least of all injuries, but the results are still unacceptable. As it stands, Schalke may well be the worst team in the world at the moment. And that’s not even an exaggeration.
But so much of me still believes that Wagner can do the job if he’s given more than a season to do it. That first year, for players and coaches alike, can always go so many ways. It’s all about acclimation, understanding your resources, building chemistry, establishing a method, and so many other things.
David Wagner can still make Schalke 04 what they need to be
It’s also about making adjustments. Which is the one area Wagner has fallen short, but it’s also an area that he needs a transfer window to truly do something with.
And I’m not even talking about purchases, I’m talking about sales and clearing house. Even if we sell half the roster and only buy two guys in return, I’m fine with it as long as Wagner has a plan as far as how to build the team from there. We have a supply from Knappenschmiede that’s among the best in the world. There’s no reason we can’t build at least the starts of a competitive outfit from those ranks alone.
I’m not sure what Schalke 04 expect from David Wagner this year, or how tight the vice grip on his job is, but I do know that they don’t want to play the coaching carousel. They don’t want to keep hiring and firing guys until they find something that clicks right away. That’s a really, really hard scenario for youngsters to grow and mature in and it provides zero consistency for a team that needs exactly that.
By that logic, I can only hope that Wagner can make it to the end of the year with enough faith from the higher-ups to give him a window.
If next year rolls around and he’s still flailing around and losing matches he should be losing, start over then. But I hope he gets a chance to build something long-term. Maybe that makes me crazy.