Schalke 04 is in a dilemma. The konigsblauen fubballprofis are in the eighth finals of the champions league and have in the bundesliga tuchfuhlung to the international starting places. If that’s still not enough, head coach jens keller is still a coach on call?
The discussions are more intense than ever. Since the konigsklasse draw was a welcome opportunity for distraction. "It’s a great occasion, also for our fans! To be able to compete with the most famous soccer club in the world with players like cristiano ronaldo, iker casillas or gareth bale: we’re really looking forward to it," keller said to the K.O.-encounters with the "royals. For young star julian draxler it will be a highlight: "it has always been my dream to play against real madrid and in the bernabeu one day."But: "it could hardly get much harder for us."
Whether keller will live to see the game as head coach may be doubted. For one rumor is holding firm: thomas schaaf is to take charge. Schalke immediately denied. During the christmas party, club spokesman thomas spiegel announced: "the report is false and does not correspond to the facts."Media reports that the gelsenkirchen team had reached an agreement with schaaf that the former bremen championship coach should replace jens keller at the start of the second half of the season were not acceptable to those responsible.
The information from the dortmunder "ruhr nachrichten" quickly made the rounds in online media – and schalke reacted promptly with spiegel’s statement. Manager horst heldt had also immediately after the 2-0 against SC freiburg by the own goal of freiburg nicolas hofler (44. Minute) and the penalty kick by jefferson farfan (67.) let it be known that there would be no hurry-up action.
"It remains that we will take stock after the game in nurnberg," said heldt. Only after the 21. December they will find out "what was good and bad and what we have to do better". Heldt added a sentence, which does not necessarily speak for a leave of absence of keller as head coach and a possible return to the junior area of the gelsenkirchener imminent: "it is not primarily about the coach."
But, added heldt, the trainer was the main person responsible. Just like exactly one year ago, when keller relieved huub stevens of his duties after the 3-1 defeat against freiburg. Heldt made one thing clear: "I never said that we would definitely not start the second half of the season with jens keller."And the inquisitive media people dismissed heldt with a kind of all-clear: "you can relax and go on christmas vacation."
Keller was quite self-critical in his assessment of the course of the half-season, despite the team’s entry into the eighth finals of the champions league: "there were a few ups and downs."But he also referred to an injury crisis: "there were always between three and eight or nine absences."Keller did not go off the deep end, saying he had too much respect for those who judge him. However, he criticized one thing: "many things are not recognized by us." For example, that against freiburg there were five young professionals from his own youth in the team.
It seems keller does not feel sufficiently recognized by the media. He already received backing from clemens tonnies last week. The head of the supervisory board had publicly let it be known that he did not feel much about unrest "at schalke" despite the frequent fluctuations in the performance of the professional team. And: "I can’t reproach jens for anything. He is misrepresented in the public perception and is misperceived."