It’s only five games into the new Bundesliga season, but a number of trainers are already looking over their shoulders and potentially anticipating a call from the club’s hierarchy informing them that their employment has been terminated.
Kneejerk reactions are not unknown in Germany’s top division with VfL Wolfsburg’s Mark van Bommel the first to be sacked last season after just 13 games. So, who are the current favourites to win (lose?) the Bundesliga sack race?
The clear front-runner is Bochum’s Thomas Reis. For some the question is only whether he is sacked or he chooses to walk. It’s a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ there is a parting of the waves.
On the field, five successive defeats at the start of the season has been the worse possible start for Bochum, but there are off the field issues playing a role here too. German tabloid Bild has long been reporting of a huge rift between the coach and the club’s upper echelons stemming from the fact Reis was denied the opportunity to move to Schake in the summer.
Contract talks between Bochum and Reis were then broken off prior to the Bayern defeat and the coach has intimated that he will be looking for a new employer next summer. If things carry on as they are, it may be a lot sooner than next summer that the job centre is being visited.
Wolfsburg traditionally aren’t shy when it comes to terminating the contract of the head coach. When the performances on the pitch don’t match up to the heady ambitions of the club, the trainer is nearly always the one to pay the price at the Volkswagen Arena.
Nico Kovac is the seventh coach at the club in the past five seasons, but his side have made a very poor start to the new season garnering just two points from their first five games. Sporting director Marcel Schäfer has gone public to reassure everyone that that Kovac is the right man for the job.
“We have to keep calm; we have to work. Because the criticism that is coming at us is justified when you have two points after five matchdays. Nevertheless, you only get this solved as a group” Schäfer told ZDF.
How big a pinch of salt do you want to take those words with? The pressure is certainly on, and results will tell whether the trigger finger gets twitchy amongst the Wolfsburg leadership.
RB Leipzig sacked Jesse Marsch last season with the club sitting in 11th in the Bundesliga table, having won just five games out of 14. Currently they lie 11th with just one win out of five and on the back of an insipid display against Eintracht Frankfurt which saw them drubbed 4-0.
Tedesco didn’t hide from the fact that his side were awful and questioned the mentality of his players. As a perfectionist Tedesco will be desperate to turn things around (as he did last season), but the Red Bull leaders will not want to see their side lose any more ground with the teams at the top. If they do, they may be forced into drastic action regarding the trainer’s position.
Maaßen was appointed as Augsburg head coach in the summer having made the step up from Borussia Dortmund’s U-23 side. The Fuggerstädter are annual candidates for relegation, but the 38-year-old will nonetheless come under increasing pressure that the job is too big for him if the team continue to struggle on the pitch. With one win and four defeats so far, those who predicted a tough season for FCA are being proved right.
Hertha may have got their first win of the season against Augsburg, but that doesn’t make up for the poor general start to the season at the capital club and with new President Kay Bernstein at the helm, it is vitally important that the club avoids the potential disaster of relegation they very nearly suffered last season.
Sandro Schwarz plays a very pragmatic brand of football, that when getting results can be tolerated. Failure to climb out of the bottom section however might see less acceptance of his methods.
After the fantastic season enjoyed last year, it would seem fickle to say the least to consider Gerardo Seoane’s future at Bayer Leverkusen. Football however is a results business and with Bundesliga results not going the way they would like and the potential for that to carry over to the Champions League, the coach might start to feel the heat.
As is often the case before the fateful sack, CEO Fernando Caro has backed the trainer. When asked by Bild whether Seoane should be trusted going forward, he stated, “Definitely. One hundred percent. I have no doubt about that.”
One hundred percent can soon become ninety-five, the eighty percent then……