For Manuel Baum, the new head coach of the crisis club FC Schalke 04, the international break came at the right time. This enabled the trainer to get a better picture of his team and make the first changes.
What approaches does the S04 coach follow? And are the ideas enough to bring the Revierklub back upstairs?
Schalke 04: tactics training for defensive stability
Schalke 04 conceded fifteen goals in their first three Bundesliga games and thus – unsurprisingly – has the worst defense in the league. The back four and the entire royal blue defensive alliance were hopelessly overwhelmed, no trace of a clear structure.
Manuel Baum now wants to train his staff tactically to tackle the problems. In training, he first tried out defensive play in order to playfully solve tricky situations. Panic relief strikes or return passes to the keeper should only be given in emergencies from now on.
S04 professional Mark Uth, the only Schalke goal scorer of the season, gave “Sport Bild” an insight into Baum’s work. He initially kept the tactical guidelines “as simple as possible” so as not to “overwhelm” the players. Over time, the tactics should be refined.
The coach’s playful approach “naturally puts pressure on the central defender to find solutions and on his teammates to make offers,” said Uth. Sounds promising, but it can only be achieved with increased self-confidence.
Schalke 04: Creating self-confidence
The miners are 19 games without a competitive win, something like that is deep in the mind. Sebastian Rudy, who fled to TSG Hoffenheim shortly before the gate closed, recently confirmed in “kicker” that the horror series at Schalke is “still in their heads”.
Actually, (ex) players (Rudy: “The Schalke team has great potential.”), Those responsible (Manuel Baum: “I am convinced of the quality of our squad.”) Or TV experts (Lothar Matthäus: “Der Squad in itself is not that bad. “) Agreed that the Schalke team does not belong to 18th place in the table. But it simply does not bring the performance to the field.
Baum organized a test match against second division club SC Paderborn during the international break in order to raise morale. With success: Schalke defeated the Bundesliga relegated 5-1.
Admittedly, not all that glitters was gold – Paderborn got S04 into trouble several times, and overall the victory was too high. A little relief should have returned to Schalke. To leave the field victorious seems to be possible again.
Schalke 04: Baum makes personnel decisions
New trainer, new attempt. That probably applies to Mark Uth in the Schalke case. The attacker, who was sorted out under David Wagner in the 2019/2020 season and loaned to Cologne, should make the breakthrough in the second attempt. For Manuel Baum he is now one of the key players in the field – in the truest sense.
Against Paderborn he let Uth act in the central offensive midfield. The 29-year-old immediately felt at home there, pulled the strings and scored three goals on top of that. “Mark can implement strategies well, he is extremely creative and a leader,” was the praise of the trainer.
By necessity and yet expected, Baum also made a change in the gate. Against Leipzig he let goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann and newcomer Frederik Rönnow on the bench. Ferryman’s adductor injury has now accelerated the change in goal.
Eintracht sports director Fredi Bobic had indicated that the Dane already had a good chance at number one after the transfer was completed. Rönnow “does not want to deny the opportunity to regularly prove his skills in the Bundesliga, for which Freddy currently sees the greater chances at Schalke – not least to recommend himself for the European Championship next year”.
Above all, it is important that the discussion about the T-question has been clarified at Schalke for the time being, especially since it is not clear when the ferryman will return.
Schalke 04: No more indiscipline
In the past, the atmosphere within the team wasn’t always the best. Numerous players hit the headlines with indiscipline. That should stop under Manuel Baum.
It is the many one-on-one interviews with which the new coach wants to win the trust of the professionals. The goal: “In the end, I would like to have developed a common value compass with the team,” said Baum of “Sport Bild”.
In future, terms such as “responsibility”, “respect” or “honesty” will be lived at Schalke. The basic idea sounds promising: “I am firmly convinced that as a coach you should pursue a holistic approach. That it is not enough to just address the athlete with tactics and routes, but that you also have to keep an eye on the people behind them.”
Manuel Baum’s experience from several advanced training courses, which he took during his time as a junior national coach of the DFB, should also help. In the end, however, it should also be clear to the new man at Schalke: Only one win counts. Preferably on Sunday (6:00 p.m.) in the home game against 1. FC Union Berlin.
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