The German word for patience is Geduld, but there has been very little of that in evidence over the last 24 hours at every level of German football as Bundesliga side FSV Mainz 05, Würzburger Kickers, newly promoted into Bundesliga 2 this season, and 1. FC Kaiserslautern of the 3. liga all released their coaches. The common denominator was a poor start to the season, with all three sides losing both their opening games in dispiriting fashion. David Wagner, formerly of Schalke 04, at least has company in the ranks of the trainers who have plenty of free time on their hands only 10 days into the league season.
Another common factor behind the early dismissals appears to be considerable off field issues. Schalke‘s woeful finances have been referred to before and FC Kaiserslautern, Bundesliga champions twice in the 1990s, have exactly the same painful issues...a pile of debt, an inability to bring in new faces to freshen up an underperforming squad and complete uncertainty as to future income streams. The final straw for the club management was the 3-0 defeat at newly promoted Turkgucu Munich. Despite the off field constraints outgoing coach Boris Schimmers had done a reasonable job in guiding FCK to 10th place last season, when at one point it looked as though the Traditionsverein was heading to obscurity of the 4th tier Regionalliga Südwest.
The bosses at Mainz had already decided to terminate coach Achim Beierlorzer‘s contract on Friday, following the mismanagement of the role of striker Adam Szalai, who had been told to find a new team, sent to train with the Under 23s, yet came on as a substitute in the first round of the Cup. In addition Beierlorzer was quoted as saying “There is no doubt that Adam can help us in certain situations.” That Szalai was part of the team council negotiating with the management about that timings of the 15% wage deferral payments caused by the pandemic has also inflamed the matter. In any event Mainz looked hopeless as they were dismantled by VfB Stuttgart 4-1 at home on Saturday, though it appears Beierlorzer’s fate was already sealed.
The final sacking, that of Würzburger Kickers Michael Schiele, is a little more curious. Schiele oversaw a superb second half of the season, particularly after the restart, which saw the Kickers fly up the table and take the second automatic promotion spot. As arguably the team with the smallest fan base in Bundesliga 2, you might think expectation levels would be modest. However a cup defeat, followed by two reverses in the league (against Aue and Dusseldorf, two decent sides) was enough for Schiele to be released and replaced with the coach of fellow promoted side Eintracht Braunschweig, Marco Antwerpen. The club leadership, now with Felix Magath at the helm, and backed by investor Flyeralarm, had clearly seen enough and opted to make the change.
So four dismissals after the second game of the season...perhaps a sign of trigger happy clubs who are already on a knife edge due to the perilous state of their finances during the pandemic. Here’s hoping that a bit more Geduld is shown to other coaches who will now be looking over their shoulders with increasing alarm after a couple of poor results.