Tag Archives: Huub Stevens

Bundesliga Review – Stevens Shakin’ after sacking by Schalke by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Whilst Shakin’ Stevens festive hit “Merry Christmas Everyone” rings out continuously in this season of good will, a namesake of Shakin’ won’t be bustling with that Christmas spirit. In fact, Huub Stevens is more likely to be Shakin’ with anger. Because, after a regretful run of results, the Schalke head coach was sacked on Sunday morning.

It didn’t take long for BILD to point out that “the Dutchman has flown.” This is true as Stevens’ Schalke were indeed flying earlier this season. October marked the high point of their voyage as it was then that the Royal Blues outplayed Arsenal and most importantly, their fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund in what were two superb away performances.

But let’s not forget what Felix Baumgartner also showed us during October: what goes up must come down. Like the Austrian daredevil, Schalke’s descent has been spectacular. The problem is the Gelsenkirchen outfit haven’t landed on their feet.

Since that magical month, Huub Stevens has endured something of a nightmare in the Bundesliga, compounded by Freiburg’s victory in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday. Stevens was given false hope by Jefferson Farfan’s opener but then began the woeful defending that would curtail his second reign in charge.

After gliding in unnoticed, Jan Rosenthal volleyed home Freiburg’s equaliser from the edge of the area. Then Joel Matip took a swing and a miss at a bouncing through ball allowing Jonathan Schmid to poke the visitors in front before half time. And when Schalke decided to give the ball away in their own half, Rosenthal was there to make it three.

So could it get any worse for Stevens and Schalke? Well yes it could, because on the field the team’s talisman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was sent off and off the pitch, there was fighting between a few Schalke fans. Parts of the VELTINS-Arena emptied before full time as memories of the victory over Borussia Dortmund less than two months ago seemed very distant. By the end of Saturday evening the Royal Blues had slipped to seventh place in the Bundesliga.

Stevens’s time was up and keeping to the lyrics of that now familiar English football song, Huub was indeed sacked in the morning. Schalke cited the team’s poor recent performance in the Bundesliga as the reason for his departure. That’s unsurprising when there’s been just one win in Schalke’s last eight games and four losses in their last six.

The Dutchman hasn’t been helped by the performance of a fellow countryman, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Last season he won the (brilliantly named) Torjägerkanone as the Bundesliga’s top scorer. This time round, the man nicknamed “The Hunter” looks unfocused as his modest total of five Bundesliga goals suggests. When you see that his contract expires in June it makes more sense.

Not much though will make sense to Schalke supporters at the moment. Their team’s recent performances have been oh so frustrating, especially after the heights they scaled just a short time ago. Of course, you can blame injuries and tiredness but it’s still perplexing to think that Schalke’s season looks to have peaked in October. Huub Stevens can be credited for his team topping their Champions League group.  Yet, as General Manager Horst Heldt made clear in a press conference after Stevens departure: “The Bundesliga is our bread and butter.”

Jens Keller is Stevens replacement for the rest of the season. The Schalke website excitedly reported that he has been having a fantastic season with the club’s Under-17 team. Still, he takes over from a man who was held dearly by Schalke for leading the club to UEFA Cup glory in 1997 and back-to-back German Cup wins four years later. But as was shown on Sunday, he was held so dearly by the club, that they sacked him meaning Huub Stevens will be left Shakin’ this Christmas for all the wrong reasons.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

  • Let’s start with the man who is favourite to be Schalke coach come next summer – Thomas Tuchel. His Mainz side grabbed another victory as they saw off Stuttgart at the Coface Arena. After their latest victory, Mainz’s General Manager Thomas Heidel said Schalke will need to come up with 30 million euros if Tuchel is to move to Gelsenkirchen. That comment may have been tongue in cheek but don’t doubt how highly Tuchel is valued by Mainz – they end the year in a very impressive 6th place.
  • Bayern Munich were surprisingly held at the Allianz Arena by Borussia Mönchengadbach. Gladbach goalkeeper Marc-André Ter Stegen deserves extra credit for some outstanding saves on Friday night. The teams trailing Bayern made up some ground though. Bayer Leverkusen comfortably beat Hamburg, Borussia Dortmund overcame Hoffenheim and the season’s surprise performers Eintracht Frankfurt were victorious in Wolfsburg. Bayern Munich though will be very satisfied though with their lead going into Christmas.
  • Meanwhile, in the relegation ramalamadingdong, Fürth and Augsburg drew – a result which left both sides still deep in the proverbial mire. A side that were expected to be in the relegation scrap, Fortuna Düsseldorf, were able to celebrate another win though. They beat off Hannover, who still haven’t worked out this winning away business. And in the last game before the winter break, Werder Bremen and Nuremberg shared the points in Lower Saxony.

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Matchday 17 Results:

Bayern Munich 1-1 Gladbach

Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Hamburg

Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-1 Hannover

Fürth 1-1 Augsburg

Mainz 3-1 Stuttgart

Wolfsburg 0-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

Schalke 1-3 Freiburg

Hoffenheim 1-3 Borussia Dortmund

Werder Bremen 1-1 Nuremberg

Table:

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 17 13 3 1 44:7 +37 42 CL*
2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 17 10 3 4 33:22 +11 33 CL*
3 Borussia Dortmund 17 8 6 3 35:20 +15 30 CL*
4 Eintracht Frankfurt 17 9 3 5 33:27 +6 30 CL* Qual.
5 SC Freiburg 17 7 5 5 24:18 +6 26 EL* Qual.
6 1. FSV Mainz 05 17 8 2 7 24:21 +3 26 EL* Qual.
7 FC Schalke 04 17 7 4 6 27:25 +2 25
8 Borussia Mönchengladbach 17 6 7 4 25:26 -1 25
9 VfB Stuttgart 17 7 4 6 21:28 -7 25
10 Hamburger SV 17 7 3 7 18:21 -3 24
11 Hannover 96 17 7 2 8 32:31 +1 23
12 SV Werder Bremen 17 6 4 7 28:29 -1 22
13 Fortuna Düsseldorf 17 5 6 6 20:22 -2 21
14 1. FC Nuremberg 17 5 5 7 17:22 -5 20
15 VfL Wolfsburg 17 5 4 8 17:27 -10 19
16 1899 Hoffenheim 17 3 3 11 23:41 -18 12 Play-offs
17 FC Augsburg 17 1 6 10 12:29 -17 9 Relegation
18 Greuther Fürth 17 1 6 10 11:28 -17 9 Relegation

Table thanks to Bundesliga Website

Article originall written at Football Fan Cast

Bundesliga Review – Schalke delight in Dortmund derby win by Archie Rhind-Tutt

Despite some success, the last two seasons have been difficult ones for Schalke fans. Within the last eighteen months, they’ve reached a Champions League Semi-Final and won the DFB-Pokal. Yet these achievements have been eclipsed significantly by the dominance of their arch-rivals, Borussia Dortmund.

With back-to-back Bundesliga titles, as well as a DFB-Pokal triumph, the Black and Yellows have outclassed all that have come before them. Ruhr rivals Schalke have been left firmly in their shadow, though Saturday’s Revierderby provided an opportunity to hurt their rivals. That’s something “fans” of both teams did quite literally with 200 arrested after clashes prior to kick off.

Scenes outside Signal Iduna Park were spectacular for all the wrong reasons with the police even using pepper spray and water cannons in an effort to break up the trouble. Scenes inside the stadium were to prove equally spectacular but this time for footballing reasons.

For the first time in over a year a side came to the Westfalenstadion and emerged victorious. Last time it was Hertha Berlin, a team who would go on to be relegated. This time around, and much more painfully for Borussia Dortmund, it was Schalke. And how sweet it was for the Royal Blues.

They were in control for much of the encounter and in recent times, controlling the play against Dortmund is just unheard of. With injuries to key players, Jürgen Klopp decided to gamble tactically by moving away from a 4231 formation. It backfired badly as Dortmund conceded within the opening quarter of an hour.

Schalke’s loan signing from Barcelona, Ibrahim Afellay, provided a touch of class synonymous with his parent club as the Dutchman volleyed in off the post. Klopp reverted back to the warm comforts of 4231 after half an hour but by then Dortmund were unsettled. Even if the odd chance came for the Champions, there wasn’t the usual conviction to their play.

Their rivals didn’t need any encouragement, doubling their lead early in the second half through some simple counter attacking play. Marco Höger was the beneficiary as he raced onto Lewis Holtby’s through ball, sending Roman Weidenfeller the wrong way with a calm finish.

That secured victory for Schalke, though it should have been more comfortable. Joel Matip somehow missed from a few yards at a corner which in turn encouraged Dortmund. Robert Lewandowski pulled one back for the Champions by flicking in Reus’s free kick. Yet even at two one down, the barrage of pressure you’d have expected never really arrived from the home side.

It completed a worrying display for Borussia Dortmund, left 12 points behind Bayern Munich after this latest setback. Even with eight games played, the title looks out of reach of the Champions. That’s both an indictment on how they’ve not matched the incredible standards they’ve set over the last two years and crucially how they lack the strength in depth which Bayern have proudly shown off so far. No team has ever come from 12 points down to win the Bundesliga. If Jürgen Klopp was to mastermind that, it would no doubt be his greatest title as a coach but that’s likely to stay as a distant fantasy.

Yet Huub Stevens side are in a position where thoughts of a title aren’t so unrealistic. Catching Bayern though even with a seven point gap looks a daunting prospect. Still, Saturday was important for the Royal Blues. Last season, they did not show up in any of the big Bundesliga games. They failed against Bayern in September too but finally, in their rivals’ back yard, Schalke did it.

It’s the sort of result which might persuade star player Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, in the final year of his contract, to sign an extension. Talks were said to have reached a standstill in September according to general manager Horst Heldt but Saturday showed the Royal Blues mean business this season.

Expectations are high at one of Germany’s biggest clubs but a first Bundesliga title is likely to prove elusive again this season. Still, the weekend’s result could well prove a watershed moment for Schalke, as they firmly stepped out of Borussia Dortmund’s shadow.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga:

• Bayern Munich just keep chugging away at the top of the table. This week, they thrashed Fortuna Düsseldorf to set a new Bundesliga record for consecutive wins at the start of the season (8). Their closest rivals are still newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt. The Eagles are five points behind after overcoming Hannover.

• Friday night can be a dreary experience for Bundesliga watchers. Hoffenheim and Greuther Fürth ensured it wasn’t this time around, serving up six goals in Sinsheim. It included three goals in the last 5 minutes and Fürth equalised with the final kick of the game. Cue coach Mike Büskens rushing immediately onto the field to celebrate with his team – only in the Bundesliga…

• Pressure continues to grow on Wolfsburg boss Felix Magath as the Wolves lost 2-0 at home to Freiburg. Disappointment is the overriding feeling at Gladbach too, as they were thrashed by Werder Bremen. And just as Hamburg looked to have turned a corner, they flattered to deceive, as Stuttgart sneaked a 1-0 win at the Imtech Arena. Elsewhere in mid-table, Bayer Leverkusen had to come from behind to secure a 2-2 draw with Mainz. Finally, Nuremberg and Augsburg played out a goalless draw on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.

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Matchday 8 Results:

Hoffenheim 3-3 Fürth

Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Mainz

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Schalke

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 Hannover

Fortuna Düsseldorf 0-5 Bayern Munich

Wolfsburg 0-2 Mainz

Werder Bremen 4-0 Gladbach

Nürnberg 0-0 Augsburg

Hamburg 0-1 Stuttgart

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* Pts.*
1 FC Bayern Munich 8 8 0 0 26:2 +24 24 CL*
2 Eintracht Frankfurt 8 6 1 1 19:11 +8 19 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 8 5 2 1 17:8 +9 17 CL*
4 Borussia Dortmund 8 3 3 2 18:11 +7 12 CL* Qual.
5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 8 3 3 2 13:11 +2 12 EL* Qual.
6 Hannover 96 8 3 2 3 16:13 +3 11 EL* Qual.
7 SC Freiburg 8 3 2 3 13:10 +3 11
8 1. FSV Mainz 05 8 3 2 3 9:10 -1 11
9 SV Werder Bremen 8 3 1 4 14:13 +1 10
10 Hamburger SV 8 3 1 4 9:11 -2 10
11 Fortuna Düsseldorf 8 2 4 2 6:8 -2 10
12 VfB Stuttgart 8 2 3 3 8:14 -6 9
13 Borussia Mönchengladbach 8 2 3 3 9:16 -7 9
14 1899 Hoffenheim 8 2 2 4 13:17 -4 8
15 1. FC Nuremberg 8 2 2 4 7:14 -7 8
16 FC Augsburg 8 1 3 4 5:11 -6 6 Play-offs
17 Greuther Fürth 8 1 2 5 5:14 -9 5 Relegation
18 VfL Wolfsburg 8 1 2 5 2:15 -13 5 Relegation

 

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Website

Article orginally written @ FootballFanCast