If Gerardo Seoane was skating on a frozen lake, he would probably be hearing fairly loud cracks from below. As Leverkusen’s trainer he is on pretty thin ice as the club continue to stutter their way through the season. Will the Swiss coach still be in charge when the Werkself face Bayern Munich after the international break?
Having dominated the game against Werder Bremen on Saturday, Leverkusen left with just a point after failing to convert dominance into goals and then allowing the visitors an easy equaliser. After the high of beating Atletico Madrid, came another low in the Bundesliga, which leaves them 15th and out of the bottom two only on goal difference.
“We are all completely unhappy. We will analyse the situation clearly but calmly & together look for solutions that will lead us back to stability & success.” The words spoken by sporting director Simon Rolfes following a crisis meeting on Sunday morning at which coach Gerardo Seoane wasn’t present. When asked whether the coach would be in the dugout against Bayern, Rolfes sad. “That is our intention.”
After the defeats to Freiburg and Brugge the backing of the under-fire trainer was more concrete, these words are more ambiguous and leave room for speculation that the club’s hierarchy are looking for “a solution” that doesn’t include Seoane. The big issue they have is that the current market is not exactly saturated with suitable candidates that would offer a better ‘solution’ to their 43-year-old coach.
The current league position is unacceptable especially after last season’s performance, which had many observers putting Leverkusen in the bracket of title challengers this season alongside Borussia Dortmund.
Seoane showed against Atletico that when he gets the match plan and the team selection right, Bayer are capable of great things. But too often this season the line up or the matchplan haven’t worked. Against Werder for example, he played Jeremie Frimpong on the right wing, Moussa Diaby in the ten role and Callum Hudson-Odoi on the left. After taking the lead through Kerem Demirbay, they tended to hit Bremen on the counter, which invited the visitors on to them.
The number ten role has become the bane of Seoane’s life with Adam Hlozek not impressing greatly there, Diaby losing his effectiveness when there and Sardar Azmoun out of position when there.
Individual errors (like Lukas Hradecky’s) cannot be put at the door of the coach, but the same group of players (minus Wirtz) are just playing way below the level they are capable of, and it is Seoane’s job to make that happen. Patrik Schick is missing chances he would have scored last season with his eyes closed.
There is a problem at the Bay Arena. The question now is whether Seoane is the solution or whether he is the cause and someone else will be trusted to lead the club “back to stability & success.”