The Bundesliga sack race: Did the coaching changes pay off?

There were a total of nine Bundesliga coaches sacked during the past season (not including interim trainers). The trainer is always the one to ultimately carry the can for under-performing players, but while a change often brings about a short-term improvement, the wisdom of pulling the plug is not always evident. Did the coaching changes this season pay off for the clubs doing the firing (and subsequent hiring)?

Domenico Tedesco

The first coach to get the chop this season was the one who had led his club to the previous season’s DFB Pokal. Domenico Tedesco went from ecstasy to agony within the space of a few months as RB Leipzig endured a poor start to the season and he was duly fired after just five Bundesliga matches of the season.

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The fact they had won just one of those five matches and been hammered at home by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League didn’t help his cause and it was deemed necessary to bring in former Dortmund and Leipzig-born Marco Rose to replace him. A 3-0 win against BVB followed and by the end of the season die Roten Bullen had climbed to third in the table with Champions League football assured for next season.

Hindsight is a tool unavailable so whether Tedesco would have turned it around will never ne known. The sacking however didn’t do him much harm and he is now the trainer of the Belgian national team. Every cloud and all that.

Thomas Reis

What a rollercoaster of a ride Thomas Reis has had over the past few years. After guiding VfL Bochum to promotion in 2021, he was much sought-after by Schalke after guiding the Ruhr side to safety in their first season. The Königsblauen didn’t get their man and employed Frank Kramer instead. Bochum then endured a torrid start to this season with Reis being fired after six consecutive defeats to begin the campaign.

Thomas Letsch came in and ultimately steered the club to safety on the final game of the season, while Reis (now employed by Schalke) suffered relegation back to the 2.Bundesliga. You win some, you lose some.

Gerardo Seoane

Another coach going from in favour to the job centre in a short space of time was Gerardo Seoane at Bayer Leverkusen. The Swiss coach guided the Werkself to a third place finish in the previous season, but it all quickly unravelled for him this season.

One win and five defeats in their opening eight Bundesliga matches as well as two losses in the Champions League saw the Rhineland club press the panic button. In came the largely inexperienced Xabi Alonso and it has to be said that the Spaniard has been a remarkable success. He has steered Leverkusen from 17th in the table to a sixth place finish and reached the semi-finals of the Europa League, where they fell to Italian side Roma.

Pellegrino Matarazzo

American-born Pellegrino Matarazzo must be feeling a little smug after guiding Hoffenheim to safety this season while the club that fired him have to go through the turmoil of the relegation play-off to secure Bundesliga football next season.

Matarazzo was sacked by the Swabians after their matchday nine home defeat to Union Berlin. The loss saw them in the bottom two with no wins and just five points to their name. The hunt for a successor showed there had been little planning and after interim Michael Wimmer failed to turn things around, Bundesliga fireman Bruno Labbadia was drafted in.

Stuttgart then duly fired Labbadia late in the season in a desperate move to avoid the drop. A play-off with Hamburger SV will determine whether their hiring and firing this season has been effective or not.

Frank Kramer

The fact that Kramer was never Schalke’s first-choice meant that he was always looking over his shoulder and when the 2.Bundesliga champions made a poor start to the season, his number was up. Die Knappen eventually got their original preferred candidate in Thomas Reis, but the squad at his disposal was not adequate to secure survival and despite a valiant effort Schalke find themselves back in the second tier a year after leaving.

Andre Breitenreiter

Unlike the previous five sackings, Andre Breitenreiter made it as far as the New Year before being let go by Hoffenheim. The Sinsheim club had been mixing it near the top of the table in the early weeks of the season, but a shocking turn of form culminated with a 5-2 defeat away at VfL Bochum and a move perilously close to the drop zone.

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Pellegrino Matarazzo was drafted in and despite an appalling run of results, the club kept the faith and he ultimately steered TSG clear of the drop zone with a lot of help from veteran striker Andrej Kramaric.

Julian Nagelsmann

The biggest shock in terms of trainers being fired this season has to be that of Julian Nagelsmann at FC Bayern. The manner of his sacking was not befitting of a club of Bayern’s standing and the wisdom will be debated for a long time despite the club ultimately winning the Bundesliga title.

Nagelsmann was unceremoniously dumped after suffering just three league defeats and guiding the Rekordmeister to a Champions League quarter-final clash with Manchester City. His successor Thomas Tuchel then exited from both the Champions League and the DFB Pokal while stumbling to the Bundesliga crown by default as Dortmund failed to win on the final day.

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Bruno Labbadia

Having previously fired Pellegrino Matarazzo, Stuttgart lost faith in Bruno Labbadia as they toyed with relegation and brought in Sebastian Hoeneß. The former Bayern II and Hoffenheim coach had an instant reaction, but in the end the Swabians ended up in the play-off berth and face a nail-biting two-legged face-off with Hamburg.

Sandro Schwarz

Hertha kept faith with Sandro Schwarz longer than was perhaps wise to do so and ultimately paid the price with relegation. With a history of chopping and changing coaches die Alte Dame sough to buck the trend with Schwarz and go for continuity, but the problem was the continuity was one of decline. The so-called saviour Pal Dardai was parachuted in too late to save the capital club and the Big City club will be playing in the 2.Bundesliga next season while crosstown rivals Union enter the Champions League.

About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball