Source: China State Council Information Office
Faith continues to wane amongst Schalke 04 fans after their club has now gone 29 league games without a win.
Frustration was further increased by new coach Huub Stevens’ failure to come up with a miracle in his first match back in charge.
With over a third of the season gone, Schalke is seven points from safety and on course for relegation after 36 seasons in Germany’s top tier.
67-year-old club legend Stevens, seen as Schalke’s last hope, lost the first of two games as stop-gap coach after Manuel Baum’s sacking.
The struggling Royal Blues are closing in fast on the Bundesliga record, set by Tasmania Berlin 1965/66, of going 31 matches without a win.
This Tuesday, fourth-tier SSV Ulm is waiting in the German Cup. The game is a do-or-die for Schalke, as another defeat would make it nearly impossible for a new coach to spark a successful restart after the short winter break.
The 14th round of matches in the Bundesliga will see Schalke travel to Hertha Berlin on January 2.
After Stevens made clear he won’t be available long term and intends to return to his job as a board member, Schalke is looking for a new coach, the fourth this season.
Reports talk of former Stuttgart coach Alexander Zorniger (53), former Duesseldorf manager Friedhelm Funkel (67), Thorsten Fink (53) and Dimitrios Grammozis (42) as possible options.
The club’s chairman, Jochen Schneider, indicated a new coach would be presented shortly after the last game of 2020.
Based on statistics in recent years, 34 points are needed to secure first division survival.
Schalke would have to gain 27 points in the remaining 21 league games of the 2020/21 season.
In 2013/14, Hamburger SV managed to avoid relegation with only 27 points after two relegation play-offs against the second division’s third-placed team.
“Do you expect us to give up? That’s no option. There is no other way. You have to stand together if you are to achieve something. If you don’t try together, you won’t succeed,” Stevens said after the 1-0 defeat on home-soil against newly-promoted Arminia Bielefeld.
His successor is facing a massive challenge considering the side has only scored eight goals and conceded 36 — both records in the current Bundesliga season.
Meanwhile, many fans regard a possible relegation as a chance to re-structure the club. Club boss Schneider has come under intense pressure after being responsible for several questionable decisions.
Others see Schalke as heading into an uncertain future after the club’s efforts to turn fortunes around have failed. Not one of the three coaches in charge this season has managed to get the club back on track.
“Football stands for all sorts of unexpected chapters. It is still possible to get things running again. It might take a miracle, but this is still possible,” Schalke’s team manager Sascha Riether said. To many, the 37-year-old sounded like a fortune teller rather than presenting an effective rescue strategy.