Football: Dismal Schalke sack coach David Wagner after worst start in Bundesliga

Schalke sacked head coach David Wagner after a disastrous start to the season and a run of poor performances. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Schalke announced on Sunday (Sept 27) that they have sacked head coach David Wagner after going 18 league games without a win, which includes the worst to a start to a season in Bundesliga history.

After 15 months in charge, time finally ran out for the 48-year-old former Huddersfield manager following Saturday's 3-1 defeat at home by Werder Bremen which left them without a league victory since January.

Having kicked off 2020-21 with a humiliating 8-0 loss at Bayern Munich last weekend, Schalke's record of 11 goals conceded with one scored in two defeats is the worst start to a season in the league's history.

"We hoped that we could turn things around. Unfortunately, the first two matches did not produce the necessary performances and results," said Schalke's sports director Jochen Schneider.

"We have therefore decided to take the path of a new start in terms of personnel," he added.

"Despite the disappointing results, this decision was anything but easy for us."

Wagner seemed resigned to his fate after Saturday's defeat, saying: "I am the main person responsible, as a coach you need results and we aren't getting them."

His successor is expected to be announced soon, with former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick - who has already coached Schalke in two stints - among the best-known candidates linked to the vacant job.

Having won promotion to the Premier League in 2017-18 with Huddersfield, Wagner returned to Germany with an enhanced reputation when he was unveiled as head coach of Gelsenkirchen-based Schalke in May 2019.

Schalke lay third last December in Germany's top flight, but crashed dramatically in 2020, conceding 48 goals and earning just six points in a disastrous end to last season in 12th place.

The cash-strapped Royal Blues have deep financial problems off the pitch and the coronavirus pandemic, with a loss of match-day revenue due to games played behind closed doors, has added to their debts.

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