David Wagner

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Bundesliga wrap: Wagner’s Schalke shine; RB Leipzig hang onto 1st

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The Bundesliga’s leaders remain RB Leipzig after four match days, and Schalke continues to surprise under new boss David Wagner.

Paderborn 1-5 Schalke

One-time “next big thing” Amine Harit scored twice to join goals from Salif Sane, Suat Serder, and Ahmed Kutucu as Schalke overcame an early concession to clobber the hosts at Benteler-Arena.

USMNT youngster Weston McKennie came off the bench to get in on the action for David Wagner’s men, trading a 1-2 with Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny en route to Harit’s first of the night.

[ MORE: Bundesliga schedule  ]

RB Leipzig 1-1 Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski’s third minute goal leant the early goings of this one an aire of predictability, but Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig rallied behind a first half stoppage time penalty to keep the top spot on the table, one ahead of BVB and Freiburg. Bayern remains two points back of the leaders.

Union Berlin 1-2 Werder Bremen

Davy Klaassen and Niclas Fullkrug score early in each half as Bremen improved to 2-2 on the season.

USMNT teen Josh Sargent was a 68th minute sub for the visitors, but only had four touches while completing all three of his passes as the visitors defended for the win. He was credited with 31 runs over his 22 minutes.

Elsewhere
Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-1 Wolfsburg — Friday
Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen — Saturday
Koln 0-1 Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Mainz 2-1 Hertha Berlin — Saturday
Augsburg 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Hoffenheim 0-3 Freiburg — Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 4 3 1 0 10 3 7 1-1-0 2-0-0 10
 Borussia Dortmund 4 3 0 1 13 5 8 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
 SC Freiburg 4 3 0 1 10 3 7 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
 Bayern Munich 4 2 2 0 12 4 8 1-1-0 1-1-0 8
 VfL Wolfsburg 4 2 2 0 7 3 4 1-1-0 1-1-0 8
 FC Schalke 04 4 2 1 1 8 4 4 1-0-1 1-1-0 7
 Mönchengladbach 4 2 1 1 5 4 1 0-1-1 2-0-0 7
 Bayer Leverkusen 4 2 1 1 6 7 -1 1-1-0 1-0-1 7
 Eintracht Frankfurt 4 2 0 2 5 5 0 2-0-0 0-0-2 6
 Werder Bremen 4 2 0 2 8 9 -1 1-0-1 1-0-1 6
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
 1. FC Union Berlin 4 1 1 2 5 8 -3 1-0-2 0-1-0 4
 1899 Hoffenheim 4 1 1 2 3 6 -3 1-0-1 0-1-1 4
 FC Augsburg 4 1 1 2 6 10 -4 1-1-0 0-0-2 4
 1. FC Köln 4 1 0 3 4 7 -3 0-0-2 1-0-1 3
 FSV Mainz 05 4 1 0 3 4 13 -9 1-0-1 0-0-2 3
 SC Paderborn 4 0 1 3 5 12 -7 0-0-2 0-1-1 1
 Hertha BSC Berlin 4 0 1 3 3 10 -7 0-0-1 0-1-2 1

USMNT’s McKennie off to strong start under Wagner at Schalke

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The hand-wringing in USMNT critical circles over whether Weston McKennie would be used at a different position for club than country — Gasp. How would he deal with that? — can be eased a bit now.

Schalke’s young mainstay, 20 for another two days, has played all but five minutes of the club’s first two Bundesliga matches, and manager David Wagner likes what he’s seeing from the central midfielder.

[ MORE: Not time for Man Utd panic ]

His 3.5 aerial duels won per match is tops on the team, his 3 interceptions per match behind only Omar Mascarell. On a team which could struggle to score goals, he’ll be a big part of getting the ball from point A to point B and is leading the team is passes completed. Small sample size, of course, but promising.

“He’s an outstanding talent on the No. 6, No. 8 position. He has a real working mentality and he is brave on the ball as well. He has a very good header. He’s 20, 21, so there’s a lot more to come but we are very, very happy to have him in the team. This is for sure one of the top players for Schalke and one of the top players for the Bundesliga for his position as well.

McKennie signed a new five-year deal with Schalke this summer, and we knew the club’s next hire would be huge for the USMNT (as bold as that sounds, yes, the entire team). So far, so good, even if Schalke is 0-1-1 after a tricky first two matches versus Borussia Monchengladbach (draw) and Bayern Munich (loss).

Schalke appoint former Huddersfield boss David Wagner

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) Schalke is bringing former United States international David Wagner back to the Bundesliga as coach.

[ MORE: Tottenham pull off second amazing UCL comeback in two days ]

The club says the 47-year-old Wagner, who previously coached Huddersfield in England’s Premier League, has signed a three-year contract through June 2022.

Wagner will inherit a side low on confidence after a lackluster season in which it only avoided Bundesliga relegation with a goalless draw against Augsburg last weekend. Schalke, which finished runner-up last season, hasn’t had a worse season since it was relegated in 1982-83.

The club fired Domenico Tedesco as coach following a 7-0 loss to Manchester City in the Champions League and turned to former coach Huub Stevens as an interim solution for the last eight games of the Bundesliga.

As a player, Wagner won the UEFA Cup with Schalke in 1997. He previously played for Mainz.

[ MORE: Tearful Pochettino hails Spurs “heroes” after another UCL comeback ]

Wagner’s coaching career began when he took charge of Schalke rival Borussia Dortmund’s second team in 2011, helped by friend and former Mainz teammate Jurgen Klopp. He was appointed Huddersfield coach in November 2015 and led the side to promotion in 2017.

Wagner performed a minor miracle by keeping Huddersfield in the Premier League the following season, but Wagner and the club agreed to part ways in January with the team last and eight points from safety with 16 games remaining.

Wagner, a former forward, made eight appearances for the United States.

Wagner or not, Schalke’s next manager hire big for USMNT

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Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie may get a manager who’s represented his same national team.

Former USMNT striker David Wagner is reportedly in “very advanced” talks to take the helm of the Bundesliga outfit.

[ MORE UCL: Spurs-Ajax recap | Eriksen reacts ]

Wagner, 47, was the Borussia Dortmund II manager before taking the job at Huddersfield Town and guiding the Terriers to the Premier League, but left the club in January en route to relegation.

Now with Schalke having dodged relegation and beaten rivals Borussia Dortmund this weekend under interim boss Huub Stevens, who himself has led the club on two other occasions.

The German-born Wagner won the UEFA Cup during a short stint as a player at Schalke, and was capped eight times by the United States.

But the move, whether Wagner or not, is significant for American soccer.

McKennie doesn’t turn 21 until the start of next season, and already boasts 44 Bundesliga appearances, a half-dozen Champions League matches, and six more German Cup slots.

He’s played in every central midfield position, as well as right back, right mid, and even a little center back and center forward. McKennie is one of the most industrious and experienced young players in USMNT history, but how much of his experience at the club level will even matter to Gregg Berhalter?

I mean, look at his positional usage at Schalke this season via Transfermarkt (right).

This could also become a David Alaba situation. The Austrian has played the majority of his Bayern Munich career as a left back, and then a center back. Yet the 26-year-old has only recently made the move to left mid or left back for Das Team, having been a center midfielder in World Cups and EURO tournaments.

So perhaps Wagner takes over at Schalke, and slots McKennie at right back. Does Berhalter think at all about whether Tyler Adams should go into the middle role and McKennie play a more natural right back? Or does Berhalter say Adams is his right back and McKennie a center mid, end of story?

Also, Wagner was a Danny Williams fan, so perhaps he’d consider the option of an All-American midfield with McKennie and Williams. Half-kidding aside, Schalke’s next manager and their intention for McKennie will be one of the more intriguing and important moves for the future of the U.S. midfield.

Reports: David Wagner set to take over Schalke

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According to reports by German publication Bild and Sky Sports in England, former Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner is the leading candidate to take over at Bundesliga side Schalke, with Sky reporting the two parties are “in advanced talks.”

The move represents a significant step up despite being fired at Huddersfield Town in January with the club in an ultimately unrecoverable position in the Premier League table, now guaranteed to finish bottom of the league sitting on just 14 points with two matches remaining.

Wagner has history at the German club, having spent two seasons at Schalke from 1995-1997 and serving as an unused substitute in the 1997 UEFA Cup final which Schalke emerged victorious.

The 47-year-old former United States international had made a name for himself at Huddersfield Town, earning promotion to the Premier League for the first time in club history in 2017 before keeping the team afloat in its first top-flight campaign against significant odds. This season was one too many, however, and the club sent him packing in a last-ditch effort to turn things around, although new boss Jan Siewart has been unable to do so.

The position at Schalke is open after Domenico Tedesco was dismissed in March with the club in a surprising relegation battle. A season ago, Tedesco was lauded with the club finishing second in the table, but they have struggled mightily for consistency this season. They suffered through a horrible run in early 2019 that produced just two points over eight Bundesliga matches, a run which saw Tedesco eventually dismissed. Interim boss Huub Stevens has recovered things somewhat, topping Borussia Dortmund last time out to jump six points clear of the relegation zone with three matches to go.

According to the reports, current Borussia Monchengladbach manager Dieter Hecking is another candidate to take over at Schalke, but the club at this point prefers the unemployed Wagner.