MatchDay 34: The final straw for Schalke, and Di Matteo

HSV: 2 -0 Schalke 04 (Olic ’49, Rajikovic ’58) 

On a rational level, this game lacked meaning. With a Europa League position already guaranteed and a failed season already well established, the result would matter little for the Royal Blue, while Hamburg were playing with all it’s force and might to stay barely alive once again. What happened, however, did reinforce the abysmal failure of the soccer season for Schalke and led to quick action the day after.

Once again Schalke lacked quality possession and, to paraphrase Rafael Honigstein, looked like they had no idea what to do when they had the ball. Starting this time with a 4-1-4-1 formation, little was shown. Benedikt Hoewedes was out to his injury in Week #33, as well as Dennis Aogo (don’t understand this choice) and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting asked to sit out. The first 45 minutes had little happening from both sides, except for a few blown opportunities by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. How fitting. Both of Hamburg’s goals in the second half came on set pieces. Hamburg is now set to play the regulation playoff game against 1860 Munich, as Ingolstadt and Darmstadt are the two promoted sides from Bundesliga’s second division.

As a result of this loss, Schalke now finish in sixth place, only two points ahead of Dortmund. Worse, if Wolfsburg lose to Dortmund in next week’s DFB Pokal final, Schalke will have to play a summer qualifier to advance into Europa.

The inevitable but necessary actions were definitely aided by this season-ending loss. There will be no further tenure for Roberto Di Matteo as the Royal Blue manager. I myself had resigned to this having to happen. In Schalke’s last seventeen matches, only five wins were achieved. This action by management certainly has more implications than last week’s desperate suspensions of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam. Much more, however, needs to be done. On a player front, many of the club’s second-tier veterans have to go. Even more significantly, Horst Heldt’s time must be finished (as of this writing there is hope of that happening).

Heldt has been responsible for seven managers since 2010. He has been responsible for bringing in second-tier and/or emotionally unstable players. The fans definitely showed by the signs in the stadium that they feel this way as well. Right now, the club is inflicted with terminal inconsistency, as the vast amount of manager hirings/firings have shown. Ridding themselves of Di Matteo and the entire coaching staff, in itself, is not enough. There is a possibility of Marc Wilmots getting that position. We can only hope.

Three stars of the match:

1. Marco Hoger- Most touches, passes and tackles. Good comeback after his brief suspension.

2. Leroy Sane-must be part of team’s 2015/16 plans.

3. Sead Kolasinac