Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick has announced his immediate withdrawal from football administration, saying he needed a break from the game. The club must now embark on a testy search to find a replacement.
Rangnick joined Schalke this March after a long stint at Hoffenheim
In a shock announcement, Ralf Rangnick hung up his coach's cap at German Bundesliga club Schalke 04 on Thursday, citing health reasons.
According to a statement from the club, the 53 year old had been suffering chronic fatigue syndrome. Rangnick said he would make a complete withdrawal from football administration.
"After long and careful consideration, I've come to the conclusion that I need a break," Rangnick said on Schalke's club website. "This decision was terribly difficult to make. But my current energy levels are not sufficient to be successful nor enough to advance the team or the club.
"I've taken this step with my team in mind and I wish them every possible success for the rest of the season," he said.
Rangnick oversaw Schalke's win in the DFB Cup final
Schalke General Manager Horst Heldt said Rangnick's decision "deserved the highest respect. We believe health should always take precedence over professional goals and challenges."
At the conclusion of last season, Rangnick had stated his desire to take a six-month sabbatical from the game after nearly five years at the helm of 1899 Hoffenheim. The plan fell through, however, when he was offered the coaching gig at Schalke following the sacking of Felix Magath in March this year.
The former VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 coach led Schalke to the semifinals of last season's Champions League and to the German Cup final, where they hammered MSV Duisburg 5-0.
Rangnick is credited with stabilizing the Schalke team following Magath's tenure, which was marked with considerable inconsistency and criticism of some of the coach's transfer choices.
Assistant coaches Seppo Eichkorn and Markus Gisdol will stand in for Rangnick for Schalke's upcoming Bundesliga clash with Freiburg. The club has yet to signal who will take the coaching reins on a permanent basis.
Schalke currently sit in ninth place on the Bundesliga ladder with three wins and three losses to their name.
Author: Darren Mara
Editor: Mark Hallam