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Sports

Opinion: Roger Schmidt is only human

Roger Schmidt's aggressive language this weekend has sparked discussion about touchline etiquette. While it's unacceptable, DW's Jonathan Harding believes the criticism aimed at him is somewhat harsh.

Not for the first time, Roger Schmidt lost his cool in the dugout on the weekend. His choice words politely equated to: "That was nothing. What kind of idiot are you? Shut the hell up! You think you invented football?"

High tension on the football sideline is nothing new, although the age of constant surveillance still takes some adjustment. Bundesliga fans will have seen Roger Schmidt angry before, most notably when he was sent to the stands against Borussia Dortmund last season after refusing to accept the referee's decision. And at Salzburg, Schmidt's anger flared up on more than one occasion.

He is a man under pressure struggling to get a talented group that he has nurtured to take the next step in their development - the good performance against Borussia Dortmund can't hide that fact. Add to that the dismissal of Kevin Volland six minutes into the game and the reason for his outburst is perhaps more understandable.

What isn't is the disrespect shown to Julian Nagelsmann, who has done nothing but command respect with his work at Hoffenheim. Nagelsmann himself was quick to make little of it after the game, showing his class.

The fact he has a track record of saying too much, that doesn't excuse it, nor does the pressure he's under. But to question his job as a result is unfair, particularly when we don't know him or the pressure he's under.

Leverkusen's sporting director Rudi Völler spoke some sense to Sky after the game, saying: "You don't think we would question a head coach because he called another head coach an idiot?" If Völler - someone who works with him every day and truly knows Schmidt - isn't then why should we? We can question his temperament, but not as a reason to do his job.

Schmidt is clearly an expressive character and while his disrespect is unacceptable, his emotion is not. There's not much genuine about football these days and while disrespect has no place, I don't want robots spitting out the same lines. I want characters and if Schmidt has to take the long path to finding the right emotional balance then that's fine with me.

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