After a full day of rumors and denials of a separation between club and coach, Eintracht Frankfurt confirmed Tuesday afternoon that head coach Thomas Schaaf has tendered his resignation.
The former long-time Werder Bremen leader offered terse commentary in explaining the situation that led to his ending his tenure after just one season of his two-year contract had elapsed.
“The publicly issued statements and the representation of myself as a person and of my work, which manifest themselves in the media as unbelievable and incomprehensible accusations and insinuations, I cannot and will not accept,” said Schaaf through a press release issued by the club. “This is why it has come to a separation.”
According to kicker, top club officials met with Bayer Leverkusen’s Sascha Lewandowski to discuss the potential for him to move to Frankfurt for the coming season. The German football publication cites Schaaf’s awareness of those talks as the catalyst in the unanticipated resignation.
Eintracht CEO Heribert Bruchhagen, who denied in a club-issued statement that the club had approached coaching candidates and stands as the only person among Eintracht leadership to publicly back Schaaf in recent weeks, said that the former Werder Bremen manager’s resignation came as a personal disappointment, considering the club’s mid-table finish as an entertaining and high-scoring side. Furthermore, it was a season that also featured striker Alexander Meier ending the season as the league’s top scorer despite missing Eintracht’s final seven matches.
“With ninth place and 43 points, Thomas Schaaf has more than fulfilled the club’s given goals for the concluded season. The collaboration with him was good; we have repeatedly confirmed this to him and the public in recent days. We really regret that Thomas Schaaf does not want to continue along the chosen path with us.”
Despite the stated disappointment, Bruchhagen acknowledged that relationships between the coach and the fragmented club leadership had not always been ideal, stating that Schaaf “did not see his work being properly assessed” and that there was “strong interference that hurt him.”
Frankfurt’s sporting director Bruno Hübner will now be forced to add “head coach” to his summer-window shopping list.
“In recent days, I made concrete plans with him for next season,” said Hübner while offering his own disappointment in Schaaf’s departure. “I think it is a pity that we cannot continue this successful collaboration.”
Hübner supported Bruchhagen’s denial of flirtations with Lewandowski, saying he had no names in mind for a likely replacement, as the “search, for me, began today.”
Some have already speculated that Schaaf negotiated his Frankfurt exit in order to pursue the same position at Schalke. According to Hübner, though, Schaaf made his initial request for a separation the day after the season finale.