Lopsided defeats to Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen have cost former USMNT striker David Wagner his job as Schalke boss.
Wagner, 48, was fired Sunday after his league unbeaten run as Schalke manager reached 18 matches through a 3-1 loss to Bremen.
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Schalke gave Wagner a little more time to right the ship after wobbling without a win over the final 16 matches of the 2019-20 season, going from fifth to 12th.
“We had all hoped that we could improve on the pitch together with David Wagner. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the right performances and results from the first two games of the season for this to happen,” explained Jochen Schneider, Head of Sport. “We have therefore decided to make a fresh start. Despite the disappointing results, this wasn’t an easy decision for us to make. I would like to thank David Wagner, Christoph Bühler and Frank Fröhling, who, up until their departure, have done everything they can to get Schalke back on track.”
The eight-times capped Wagner began his coaching career with good friend Jurgen Klopp and took his first managerial position at Borussia Dortmund II.
He was then hired by Huddersfield Town and led the Terriers to the Premier League, keeping them in the top flight for one season before leaving the club midway through their relegation-bound second season.
Hired in May 2019, Wagner and Schalke was third after 13 weeks last season, having drawn Revierderby rivals Dortmund and beaten RB Leipzig. But they sunk quickly and had a run of eight matches in which they scored just two goals.
It’s worth monitoring what’s next for Wagner. Back to the Terriers or a Championship side to test his promotion prowess? 2.Bundesliga for that matter?
His star might have appeared to dip due to this run but Schalke has had to deal with significant financial upheaval and sent Weston McKennie to Juve on a loan-to-buy and Daniel Cagliari to Augsburg. Young goalkeeper Alexander Nubel was also sold to Bayern and the only incoming moves were for Vedad Ibisevic and Goncalo Pacienca.
Another thing to note will be whether this is a positive or negative for young American midfielder Nick Taitague, who has battled injuries but had received first team training. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has one goal in 10 appearances for Schalke II.Follow @NicholasMendola