Schalke 04 are one of Germany’s top football club and should be contending for a top 5 position every year. This year, however, they have almost no hope of finishing in the top 5 and there are still 11 games left to play. The team currently in 5th is Bayer Leverkusen with 50 points, whereas Schalke is in 8th place with a mere 37 points. The blame on who is at fault for this disaster is clear and obvious. The manager and the goalkeeper are both equally at fault for the catastrophic sequence of events that started in January.
January marks the halfway mark of the football season in Europe. It is also a trade-deadline-Esque time because there is a mid-season transfer window. Teams that are one or two pieces away are handing over way more money than players are worth seeing if they can make a run this year and teams that are behind are selling like crazy to cash in on mid-level players that are being overvalued. One big move that happened this year for Schalke is that their star goalkeeper, Alexander Nubel, signed a futures contract with rival German team Bayern Munich. Nubel’s contract was due to expire at the end of this season and it was clearly time for him to move to a bigger club as he is one of the top goalkeepers in the world at just 23 years of age. Schalke’s manager, David Wagner, felt the player disrespected the club by signing the deal mid-season.
However, this is not the first time Bayern Munich has done this to a smaller German club. Bayern Munich has made a living off of poaching young German talented players away from smaller clubs that cannot hold the same appeal as a big club as Bayern Munich can. Schalke 04 should have known that something like this would have happened. Instead, David Wagner got mad and benched Nubel for the remainder of the season. Markus Schubert was the backup and he has taken over the starting duties since January. Also, since January, Schalke has 1 win, 4 losses, and 3 ties. This is 6 points out of 8 games. A team that is contending for 5th should be winning 10-14 points minimum every 8 games. The number of losses is only the start, the matter in which they lose is another thing. In those 4 losses there is a 5-0 loss to Bayern Munich, another 5-0 loss to RB Leipzig, and a 4-0 loss to Dortmund just last weekend.
In the 4-0 loss to Dortmund last weekend, two of the goals were directly Schubert’s fault as well. The team is now having discussions to re-insert Nubel into the lineup, but the damage has been done at this point and he is already out the door and thinking of his future. At this point, Schalke may well have to call this season a wash and try to finish 6th which is actually attainable. This was a poor move by David Wagner and it cost this team dearly down the stretch and now with 11 games left, he may be fighting for his job.
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