Bundesliga: Spotlight on Domenico Tedesco as struggling Schalke reshuffle | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 28.02.2019
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Bundesliga: Spotlight on Domenico Tedesco as struggling Schalke reshuffle

A year ago, Domenico Tedesco's star was on the rise as he led unfancied Schalke to second in the Bundesliga. But now the young coach is increasingly under the spotlight as the club start to reshuffle in key positions.

"There can only be one view on our current situation. Everybody should know what needs to change," said Domenico Tedesco ahead of Saturday's crunch clash with Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Tedesco was referring to the attitude and application of his players, who were abject last weekend in a 3-0 defeat to a Mainz side that had lost their previous three matches by an aggregate score of 11-1. 

Not for the first time this season, the 33-year-old didn't pull any punches in his post-match assessment, saying Schalke had "shot ourselves in the foot" and describing the performance as "awful." Moments after their 12th defeat of a miserable league campaign, the club announced that sporting director Christian Heidel would leave his role at the end of the season. 

Changes at the top

Heidel, who made his name working with the likes of Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel at Mainz, was widely regarded as a shrewd appointment when he joined the Royal Blues in 2016. But his stock has fallen lower than Tedesco's with Schalke's recruitment at the start of this season patchy at best. Sebastian Rudy, Omar Mascarell and Suat Serdar all had price tags of €10 million or more and have all failed to deliver.

Heiedel's replacement will be appointed by a new face in Gelsenkirchen, with former RB Leipzig employee Jochen Schneider joining the backroom staff days after Heidel's exit was announced. 

"We have had some well-structured chats," said Tedesco about his first impressions of the new man. "I think he will fit in very well. He is very down-to-earth and has some clear plans, which will suit Schalke."

Though Tedesco has some credit in the bank from last season, he's savvy enough to know that, with players difficult to shift, there are few other places left to turn for Schalke's top brass so he must improve results fast if he's to keep his job.

Schalke's success last season was built on a expertly-drilled defense, which allowed them to finish second despite scoring significantly fewer goals than the rest of the top six. With a limited squad, Tedesco looked to have cut his cloth accordingly, grinding out victories with little regard for expression or flair.

New signings fail to fire

The summer additions of Rudy and Mark Uth were designed to add some creativity and clinical finishing to a squad lacking those qualities but it hasn't worked. Uth has just two league goals to date and the team have scored a paltry 25 goals in 23 games.

Mark Uth has struggled since moving to Schalke (Getty Images/Bongarts/K. Hessland-Wissel)

Mark Uth has struggled since moving to Schalke

Tedesco can, justifiably, point to injuries, particularly up front, as mitigation for a campaign that leaves them struggling to keep their head above water but comparison to the side they face on Saturday does him no favors.

Düsseldorf were bottom of the league in November and seemed to be short of the required quality after investing less than €7 million in new players after promotion. But Friedhelm Funkel's side have now won six out of their last nine and will move eight points above their opponents with a win on Saturday.

"We know Fortuna Düsseldorf well, but have to concentrate on ourselves more," said Tedesco. "They have brought in some good players and deserve to be above us in the table right now  we need to do our all to change that."

With trips to Werder Bremen and Manchester City and a home match against RB Leipzig to come, Tedesco needs that change to be immediate.

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