It has taken them a while to reach their conclusion, but Hoffenheim have decided that trainer Alfred Schreuder is not compatible with the club’s intended direction and the two have gone their separate ways four games before the end of the season.
Those familiar with a certain dating app will be all to familiar with the ‘swipe left’ feature. You instantly decide that your match isn’t your type, and you move quickly on. Compatibility is an obvious factor in the relationship and if you are on different paths, it is clearly not going to work.
So how come it took the club until four games before the end of the season with the team on the verge of securing European football next season to realise that 47-year-old Dutchman Schreuder was not the man to take them forward? There will be Schalke fans looking at their plight and wondering how the hell David Wagner is still in a job if these are the new rules.
“We had different views on important detailed issues, meaning that cooperation beyond the end of the season no longer makes sense,” explained TSG director of professional football, Alexander Rosen in a statement on the club’s website.
For all intents and purposes Schreuder has been sacked from his contact that was to run until June 2022. “From the very beginning, I was aware that the task at Hoffenheim would be a major challenge. The work has filled me with great joy. I would like to thank the club for giving me the chance to work in the Bundesliga,” Schreuder has said.
“Unfortunately, we could not agree on a common path to lead TSG into the future. I regret this development. However, it is not unusual to have differences of opinion in professional life. You then have to be honest with each other and draw the appropriate conclusions” he added.
The ‘task’ that Schreuder mentioned was a tricky one which involved succeeding Julian Nagelsmann and rebuilding a squad that had lost the likes of Joelinton, Kerem Demirbay, Nico Schulz, and Nadiem Amiri. No easy job, but as the Sinsheim club enter the final four matches of the current season they lie 7th two points behind Wolfsburg.
To put things into perspective Hoffenheim finished 9th in Julian Nagelsmann’s final season with 51 points. Therefore, it is difficult to fathom what the ‘different views’ that Alexander Rosen mentioned in his statement actually are.
Are TSG performing below expectation? No would be the obvious answer. It can only be deduced that a huge difference of opinion regarding transfer policy going forward is at the forefront of this surprising development and that Schreuder has fallen foul of Rosen.
Last summer’s total income from player sales/loans amounted to €121.2 million whereas the investment in new players was €53.85 million with the highest profile acquisitions Munas Dabbur (€12 million), Diadie Samassekou (€12 million) and Robert Skov (€10 million). Hoffenheim clearly have the ambition to be achieving Champions League football after their first dalliance under Nagelsmann, but it will come at a cost.
Just what has led to this realisation of incompatibility will probably take a while to emerge and Hoffenheim’s wisdom of dispensing with Alfred Schreuder’s services will not be justified for a long time. Appointing him as ‘one of their own’ last summer seemed a logical step. Sacking him when on the verge of securing their season’s aims looks totally illogical.
We live in strange times.