On the trail of Tasmania Berlin
Stand: 6:05 p.m. | Reading time: 4 minutes
After the draw against newly promoted Stuttgart, doubts are mounting as to whether Schalke 04 are competitive in the Bundesliga. Coach Baum has reached his limits after 22 games without a win. The fight for survival has begun in Gelsenkirchen.
EA striking statement can catch up with you quickly and uncomfortably. Manuel Baum dutifully completed his interview marathon, going from television reporter to television reporter. And in none of the conversations after the 1: 1 (1: 0) Against VfB Stuttgart, the language image that the Schalke coach had recently used was not mentioned.
Schalke is “like a new ketchup bottle that you have to knock on after opening to get something out,” Baum said, referring to the situation of the team he had taken over when they played 18 games in a row across seasons was without a win – and since Friday, since the draw against promoted Stuttgart, is now the sole hunter of a negative record that Tasmania once set. In the 1965/1966 season, Berlin’s 31 games in a row remained without a win – Schalke now has 22 games. Baum is responsible for the last four.
When it came to ketchup, the 41-year-old smiled a little pained. Next Saturday, when Schalke, currently two points and 3:20 goals, will compete at 1. FSV Mainz 05, which started in a similarly disastrous manner, “hopefully everything will flow out”, said Baum. What else should he have said?
The job that the trained secondary school teacher took on is probably the most ungrateful that the Bundesliga had to give. Baum coaches a team that many have long said is significantly better than the performance it has been delivering for over nine months.
The team has long since established itself at a low level. Baum’s predecessor David Wagner had lost access to the players at some point. It splashed along, but for a long time it didn’t seem to alarm anyone. The club had other worries: 200 million euros in debt at the end of 2019, then Corona came. There was a threat of insolvency, and there were also disputes over Clemens Tönnies, which ultimately led to the resignation of the supervisory board chairman.
Schalke loses the thread under stress
In order to survive at all, the club had to take out a state guarantee to secure new loans. There was massive criticism of those responsible who had to weaken the already problematic team due to economic constraints: In Weston McKennie one of the few mentality players left.
Under stress, the Schalke lost the thread. Managers and fans discussed a spin-off. When they turned their gaze back to the teams, they saw something that they hadn’t thought possible for a long time: It’s against relegation – there has been no doubt about that since Friday at the latest.
“When you look into our cabin now, your heads hang. We had different expectations and absolutely wanted to win, ”said Baum and tried to highlight things that should show a certain amount of progress despite everything. “The first half was absolutely okay. We finally dared to play football from behind. But our construction site remains the last third, we do not pose a gate hazard. “
Baum made no headway on instilling new confidence in the players. There is even a lack of conviction that they can cope with opponents like Union Berlin (1: 1) or a newcomer like VfB. Because even the opening goal (30th minute) by Malick Thiaw, a 19-year-old from the club’s own junior department “Knappenschmiede”, gave no security. In the second half, the “Royal Blues”, who had to accept the equalizer with a hand penalty (56th), even had to worry about the one point. Now the Stuttgart were superior in all respects – especially tactically and playfully.
The question that now worries Schalke is: Is it really, as Baum claims, just a matter of the head – or is Schalke at least not significantly better in quality than what the team has been showing for months? The coach never tires of emphasizing that it is convinced of the quality. “The boys are really trying,” he said: “But in the game we often did not hold our positions.” He will continue to work on that. Let the ketchup flow.