Schalke 04 endured the worst possible start to their Bundesliga 2020-21 season with an 8-0 hammering by Bayern Munich.
That defeat laid bare the fears of Schalke fans over the summer that the squad and manager David Wagner were completely unprepared for the demands of a long season ahead. Indeed, Wagner cut an isolated figure in his post-game interview following the loss in Bavaria and his fate was sealed after defeat at home to Werder Bremen.
The former Huddersfield Town coach was given a stay of execution during the summer, but the Schalke board were unwilling to take the risk on keeping him in his post for any longer after losing to Werder.
They opted for a slightly left field choice of Manuel Baum as Wagner’s replacement, despite the 41-year old only joining Joachim Low’s youth set-up with the Germany national team in June 2019. Baum is an experienced option having previously coached Augsburg between 2016 and 2019, but whether or not he can stop Schalke from slipping into an irreversible free fall remains unclear based on their dreadful early season form under both him and Wagner.
He will need the vital top-flight nous of key players including Matija Nastasic, Salif Sane, Suat Serdar and Mark Uth to come to the fore in the coming months to ensure they can climb out of the relegation zone and ease the pressure. If he can manage to do that he is in a strong position to potentially achieve their longer term goal of a European qualification push in the second half of the campaign.