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March madness? The “new” kids are on the block

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Yes, you might have read tons of stuff about the trainer carrousel in the Bundesliga these past few days. But, let’s take a step back and see what the changes the clubs in the league have made will bring us.

One of the most astute questions that is asked by foreign relations experts is: “Why are you doing this, and what will you achieve by doing this?” In my book the board of any football club should ask themselves the same question, before bowing to public outcry and pressure before taking rash actions.

However, in the last few weeks a number of clubs have chosen the most drastic action a club can take, and fired their head coaches. Let’s run down the list, and see if all the sackings that have happened in the last few weeks were the right thing to do.

Louis van Gaal will be gone at the end of the season.

Louis van Gaal
Following Bayern’s third defeat in a row, the Dutchman was told by the club that his services were no longer needed after the end of this season. Louis van Gaal had certainly shown a lack of comprise, and set about doing things his way after arriving at the club.

Going into this season it was crystal clear that Bayern had problems in defense. Louis van Gaal ignored those problems, chose not to purchase any new defenders for the 10/11 season. Combined with the a massive amount of injuries, and the strenuous atmosphere that was created by the departure of Mark van Bommel, Bayern failed to make any headway in the second of the 10/11 season. Despite all that the players at the club are still believing in van Gaal and his concept, and they unanimously think that the coach has put them on the right track.

It has to be said that Bayern knew all along who they had hired. Louis van Gaal is known to be the sort of coach that doesn’t like interference from the board, and he decides how the club is run. Combined with Uli Hoeness’s track record of butting in, this combination was set to implode at some point, if neither men could change their way.

The replacement for van Gaal is Jupp Heynckes. The soon to be 66 year old coach is certainly well seasoned, has plenty of experience from all over Europe, has won the Champions League before, and is a completely different character then the Dutchman. Heynckes is polite, but known to go a little rough on his players from time to time. Heynckes has certainly the know-how to make his last stint at Bayern Munich a successful one. However, it has to be said that a 66 year old coach isn’t a long term solution. Bayern is probably waiting for the young and exciting coaches that have come through the last couple of seasons to get a little bit more experienced. If this is the case, Heynckes is the ideal choice. Having said that, the way the front office of the club handled the van Gaal persona was incredibly amateur like, and has created more unpleasantness then needed.

Armin Veh won the championship with VfB Stuttgart in 2007. He was never able to turn the HSV into a championship winning side.

Armin Veh
One of the underachievers this season has been the HSV. The red shorts have on paper a squad that should compete for on of the Champions League spots. This season under Veh has truly been dreadful from a footballing point of view, and brought a lot of uncertainty to the club. The northerns are now trying to restructure their club. They have brought in Frank Arnesen as their new sporting director, and given the boot to Bernd Hoffmann. At this point it seems to be unclear who is going to be the head coach of the HSV at the beginning of the next season. All in all at was the right decision to let Veh go, and start with a clean slate the next season.

Magath was unwanted by a number of Schalke fans, as this photo clearly shows.

Felix Magath
The fans at Schalke were divided when it came to Magath. One set of fans seemed to be more then willing to give Magath the boot, while the other wanted to keep him. Magath has taken the club to the cup final, taken it to the round of the last 8, but has never managed to maneuver the club out of the mid-table misery. His transfer dealings in the January transfer window were certainly mind boggling, and created a lot of hot air.

The team wasn’t happy with the coach, but considering under which circumstances Magath left, it has to be said that this seem more like a political decision made by Clemens Tönnies and the board and not a sporting decision. If the board had taken into consideration that Magath could get them to the semi-final in the Champions League, and win them the domestic cup, he might still be at Schalke.

Magath has been replaced by Ralf Rangnick, who brings an entirely different coaching philosophy to the club. This time around Rangnick won’t have to face Rudi Assauer, whom he despised. Rangnick was fairly successful at his first stint at Schalke, and is now looking to repeat this success. At this point it is already clear that 12, or more players will leave the club at the end of the season. Rangnick has critiqued the transfers of his predecessor, and rightly so. However, I doubt that redoing the team entirely for the third season is the right answer to Schalke’s problems.

Magath is now off to Wolfsburg, to turn the hush-puppies of the league into wolves again. Wolfsburg have finally realized that Dieter Hoeness isn’t the man that will bring your club success, and try now to move past the McClaren farce with Magath in charge. A wise move in my book, but it might have come to late.

Michael Skibbe
Frankfurt have certainly not set the league on fire with their performance so far in 2011. Skibbe’s men failed to score for almost 800 minutes in the beginning of the Rückrunde, and their display on the pitch can be likened to Jeremy Clarkson’s dreadful grasp of fashion. Letting Skibbe go then seemed the appropriate action taken by the club.

His replacement is also another well seasoned coach, who brings a lot of experience, and has won the domestic championship in three different countries. All in all a good move by the eagles.

What do you think of the trainer carrousel?  Are coaches fired far too easily in the Bundesliga? Leave a comment below.


About Niklas

Niklas Wildhagen has been following the Bundesliga for over 20 years and he is the editor in chief of the Bundesliga fanatic.

4 responses »

  1. Has anyone heard what Magath’s thinking now after Schalke’s demolition of Inter in the Champions League while he’s sat staring at a relegation playoff in the league?

  2. That sounds too sane for Felix–he should have gone Klopp and broken his glasses whilst trying to send Patrick Helmes to the Wolfsburg reserves just because.


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