As if things couldn’t get any worse for Hannover 96 as they go into the Winterpause. In the bottom two, with six league defeats in their last eight Bundesliga games, they now find themselves without a trainer following the resignation today of Michael Frontzeck.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich did not come as too much of a surprise, but today’s announcement at a press conference has surprised a few despite the precarious situation the Niedersachsen club find themselves in
“After careful and much discussion I have come to the conclusion to quit my job at Hannover 96” Frontzeck explained. “Unity and trust are the basic requirements in our situation in order to work successfully. I currently do not feel that trust. Together we achieved something great last season by avoiding relegation. That was only possible because we combined our forces.”
The fact that the trainer has decided to jump ship could well be a move to avoid being pushed. From the comments he’s made, it is clear that the positive working relationship within the club’s hierarchy has suffered, but it remains unclear whether club boss Martin Kind was preparing to sack the 51-year-old.
What is clear is that Hannover fans have not enjoyed the Hinrunde collecting only 14 points (winning just four and losing eleven) putting them 17th in the table going into the winter break. At the same stage last season they had 24 points and were still involved in a relegation battle.
There were doubts from the beginning about Frontzeck’s capabilities as a coach. Despite the early reservations from the fans side the 51-year-old was offered a contract after his team managed to stave off relegation with a mad sprint to the finish line towards the end of the season. However, this season has seen Hannover return to the sort of form you’d expect from a team coached by the former Arminia Bielefeld and Borussia Mönchengladbach coach. Frontzeck is still the only coach with more than 100 Bundesliga matches under his belt who has averaged less than a point per match. After 137 matches on the sideline he is stuck at around 0.95 point per game.
However, there are certainly elements at play here that Frontzeck could have done very little about. The squad is clearly in need of some transfer window strengthening after the players brought in during the summer have failed to deliver. The likes of Mevlut Erdinc, Uffe Bech and Charlison Benschop have not exactly set the HDI-Arena alight and the loss of Lars Stindl, Joselu and Leonardo Bittencourt have been keenly felt.
But it is not just players they need, it is now a new coach they require to steer the club to safety. But who is going to want the potentially poisoned chalice of a club lingering dangerously close to the bottom of the Bundesliga table?
There are experienced Bundesliga coaches out of work at the moment -Thomas Schaaf being one, but Hannover don’t exactly have much of a pull for an ambitious trainer. Hannover paper HAZ writes that the club now is looking into a number of different options, Schaaf being one of them. Other notable names mentioned are Peter Neururer, Felix Magath(who was at the game on Saturday), Volker Finke and Markus Gisdol. Many fans have in the past asked for a return of Mirko Slomka, who is also available on the market.
Frontzeck becomes the fourth Bundesliga trainer to leave his post this season following Lucien Favre (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Markus Gisdol (Hoffenheim) and Alexander Zorniger (VfB Stuttgart).
Photo: PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
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