Schalke: 2. Bundesliga Title A Small Step towards Restoring the Club

Although it lacked the drama from Saturday’s Bundesliga fixture on Saturday, it was still full of emotion. Schalke 04 defeated 1.FC Nurnberg 2-1 at Max-Morlock-Stadion in order to win the 2.Bundesliga title. This bonus is for securing promotion into the Bundesliga one week before.

On Sunday, the title, the last spot for direct promotion, and the relegation spot had to be decided. Schalke required only a draw to win the first spot, while Werder was second, needing just one point to finish second against Jahn Regensburg. Hamburger SV came third after beating Hansa Rostock 3-2. Hamburg will now face Hertha Berlin in this week’s relegation playoffs.

Schalke, Werder had a great time at the party on Sunday. Nurnberg saw thousands of people flood the Max-Morlock-Stadion pitch to celebrate the title celebrations. The Deutsche Fussball Liga, which oversees the first and second divisions, gave away a mini-Meisterschale for the winner of the second division. Schalke fans will be happy with the silverware, but the club’s management will be more concerned about the $1 million that the champions will get for winning the title.

Schalke was hard hit by the pandemic and its relegation to the Bundesliga. Due to the pandemic of 2020, the club had over $200 million of debt and was in serious financial trouble.

Schalke and Werder were the reason the Bundesliga devised a plan to restart in the worst days of the pandemic. After March 2020, when sport was in a complete halt, the league was the first major league that returned.

Pandemic effects were one reason the club failed in 2020/21. There were other issues. The club, which has 160,000 members and was 16th in Europe in terms of revenue according to the 2021 Deloitte Football Money League Report, has been transformed into a second-tier club through years of coaching changes and mismanagement.

Schalke was not included in the 2022 Deloitte Money League rankings. The club’s squad value fell by more than $100million on Transfermarkt from $135.36million to $34.71million.

Mike Buskens, Schalke’s interim head coaching, stated that “We aren’t the Schalke that we used to be” at the press conference after the game against Nurnberg. Although there will be some additional resources due to promotion to Bundesliga, the club will be in a different place than before the club was relegated.

Rouven Schroder, the sporting director, said that “I think we first have to relax some,” after the game. Schroder was a key player in reducing the costs of the squad, clearing the debt at around $140million, and building a team which managed to return to topflight after only one season, despite huge financial difficulties.

Sunday’s announcement by the sporting director was that no immediate announcements were expected about the squad or the head coach. Buskens, who took over from Dimitrios Grammozis March and won seven of eight games, has decided not to remain as the club’s coach. He will instead return to his assistant coaching role.

Schroder told the ZDF Sportsstudio that they have a favorite but couldn’t reveal his identity at this time. “I cannot say who he’s because we’re not in a position to announce it,” Schroder said in the mixed zone after the game.

Prior to the new season, Schalke’s head coach will be the key figure in the squad puzzle. However, the club is also working to keep Rodrigo Zalazar, a Frankfurt loanee, and Ko Itakura, a Man City loanee, at the club. Simon Terodde’s 2. Bundesliga success is still in doubt. Bundesliga’s goalscoring success is now in the first division.

It will take a lot of work to reestablish a club that, although a giant in history, is also a huge financial and personal investment. It will take a long, difficult path to re-establish the club in Germany’s top 4, and may prove even more challenging than winning promotion from the second.

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