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The Daily Bee (March 1st, 2021): Schalke’s Collapse Continues as Management Clears House

BVB’s chief rivals are imploding. The consequences could last for years.

VfB Stuttgart v FC Schalke 04 - Bundesliga Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Good morning, everyone. Except Schalke fans... my guess is that you are not having a good morning.

If there’s one thing that both Schalke and Borussia Dortmund have in common, it’s that their seasons have both been uprooted by disastrous 5-1 defeats against Stuttgart. Following Schalke’s loss on Saturday, heads rolled in Gelsenkirchen as head coach Christian Gross, assistant coach Rainer Widmayer, Squad manager Sascha Riether, head of performance Werner Leuthard, and communications executive Jochen Schneider have all been fired, effective immediately. Peter Knabel, the director of Schalke’s youth academy, will take over sporting operations, while a new manager has not been named.

According to a report by ESPN, Schalke’s meltdown began friday, when a group of players including Arsenal loanees Sead Kolasinac and Shkrodan Mustafi, staged a player revolt and called for Gross to be fired, citing various grievances ranging from Gross frequently confusing players’ names to incompetence during training sessions.

At this point, Schalke’s relegation is a foregone conclusion, but their struggles go so far beyond their standing in the league. Over the past few years, teams like Stuttgart and Cologne have demonstrated that it’s possible to rebuild after relegation and eventually return to the Bundesliga. At Schalke, however, there is clearly deep rot within the organization that will continue to burden the club long after this season is over. Schalke’s mass firings this weekend were just the first step in clearing out a front office that is clearly mired by incompetence. In many ways, this was the easy part. Schalke’s board, led by Chairman Jens Buchta, will need to rebuild an organization with a competent scouting department, coaching staff, and youth academy that can help build Schalke up to competitiveness again.

Joachim Low Opens Door to Possible Return to National Team for Mats Hummels

It was quite controversial back in 2019 when Joachim announced that Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller, and Jerome Boateng, three star players and anchors within the team that won the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, had been cut from the German national team. Many pundits believed that it was Low’s way of shifting the blame for Germany’s defeat in Russia in 2018 away from himself. Since then, as Germany have struggled in the EURO qualifiers and in the Nations League, many have called for Low to admit his mistake and recall Muller, Hummels, and Boateng, all of whom have continued to have individual success at their respective clubs.

Now, according to Ruhr Nachrichten, such a return may finally come to pass. According to a recent interview, Low may be open to the idea of bringing this trio back. While he has no plans to bring them back in the upcoming Nations League matches, he may bring them back to compete in the EUROs if he believes doing so will give Germany the best shot at winning.

Will this happen? While the last thing Low wants to do is admit a mistake, he probably also recognizes that he’s on the hotseat. While he won Germany the World Cup in 2014, the club’s performances in 2016 and 2018 were very disappointing, and the club’s struggles have continued since then. If he doesn’t make a strong run in the European Championships this summer, he could easily lose his job, so he may have to bite the bullet and bring back Muller, Hummels, and Boateng if he wants to stay in charge.

The Daily Buzz

Do you think Low will bring back Hummels, Boateng, and Muller?