Fußball-Bundesliga: Hertha BSC und Schalke 04 nach dem 17. Spieltag in Abstiegsgefahr
Hertha BSC and Schalke 04 are at the bottom after the second half of the Bundesliga. Both traditional clubs are struggling with similar problems.
According to reports in the capital’s press, Josh Wander, CEO of the US company “777 Partners”, which wants to take over shares in Hertha BSC for 375 million euros, was also sitting in the stands in the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday evening (01/24/2023). The deal is “on the home straight,” said Hertha President Kay Bernstein. One can only hope that Wander doesn’t base his investment on what he saw in Hertha’s 5-0 defeat by VfL Wolfsburg.
The Berliners, who had declared their fight against relegation after the 1: 3 at the restart in Bochum, also played like a hot relegation candidate against the up-and-coming Wolfsburg. Already at the break, when the score was 0:3, Hertha had lost the game without a chance. Sports director Fredi Bobic spoke of the “worst performance” of the entire season. “Really underground. We were running around insane.”
“Hertha radios SOS!” headlined the Berliner Kurier before the derby ahead of the upcoming derby against Union, where the next humiliation threatens.
The team, which was also clear against Wolfsburg, lacks structure and players who take responsibility. Kevin-Prince Boateng, emotional leader in the past, is only a supplementary player. Other potential leaders like captain Marvin Plattenhardt or deputy Lucas Tousart just don’t bring the leadership quality to the pitch.
Coach Sandro Schwarz, valued both professionally and personally, apparently has no recipe against the ongoing sporting crisis, his record with 14 points from 17 games is not better than that of his predecessors Pal Dardai and Tayfun Korkut, who were on leave last season. Black is “not even remotely up for discussion,” said manager Bobic and expressed his confidence in the coach.
But it is also true that Hertha has little or no financial leeway to hire a new coach as a firefighter – as in the previous season when Felix Magath brought Hertha through the relegation. With the millions from the available new investor, only the remaining shareholder Lars Windhorst should initially be paid out. His investments of 130 million euros in the squad, a sum that is still elusive, have largely fizzled out without effect. “Identity instead of millions of dollars”, the Hertha fans demanded on banners in the game against Wolfsburg – and hit a nerve.
Hertha, which “actually belongs at the top” (Wolfsburg coach Niko Kovac), obviously still has orientation problems and is struggling with the role of having to play against relegation for the second year in a row. Even if coach Schwarz recently confirmed: “We know the situation we are in.” But the expectations are different at Hertha, which sees itself as a traditional brand in the league, with a correspondingly high level of attention.
Schalke on the direct path back to the 2nd division
This is the parallel to the other big false start in the rest of the season after the unusual World Cup break: Schalke 04 may have been promoted on paper, but they are still a club with great, self-declared charisma. The memories of European Cup evenings are still relatively fresh for many fans. Schalke is currently struggling not only with the legacy of years of mismanagement, both sportingly and financially. The challenge of repositioning itself as a traditional club with shrunken ambitions is apparently very difficult for the “Royal Blues”.
In the 0: 3 defeat against ripped off Frankfurt, Schalke saw themselves sold below value. However, the 6-1 debacle against Leipzig confirmed the worrying impression from the weeks before the Qatar World Cup. Although Schalke got the next Champions League club in front of their noses in Leipzig, the vulnerable defense is basically not suitable for the Bundesliga.
17th matchday arrow right
Schalke is also not competitive in attack, with 14 goals they have by far the weakest attack in the league. With a meager 9 points, the “Royal Blues” go into the second half of the season, the renewed crash in the 2nd division seems inevitable. The fans fled the Schalke Arena before the final whistle.
They have already changed the coach at Schalke this season. Thomas Reis, who has to witness how his former club from Bochum is just getting out of the mess, seems at a loss and described his own emotional world as “crappy”.
Question marks about Knäbel’s winter transfers
The rescue measures initiated by sports director Peter Knäbel on the winter transfer market gave the impression that Schalke was already putting together the team for the lower house. The Frenchman Florent Mollet, probably the strongest player in the team, sold Knäbel again – to get players like Jere Uronen, Niklas Tauer, Michael Frey and Tim Skarke, all of whom have little or no Bundesliga experience.
The most conspicuous Schalke player against Leipzig was 22-year-old Soichiro Kozuki, not only because of his remarkable goal: the Japanese was still playing in the regional league team a few weeks ago. On Saturday, the bottom of the table awaits the reinvigorated 1. FC Köln.
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