Schalke have announced that Mike Büskens will take charge of the team until the end of the season after the dismissal of Dimitrios Grammozis.
The head coach was relieved of his duties on Sunday following the 4-3 home defeat to Hansa Rostock that saw Schalke slip to sixth in the table, six points off Darmstadt and St. Pauli in second and third place respectively. They are seven off leaders Werder Bremen.
The growing gap has forced the club into action, and they have now placed Büskens in charge of the remaining nine games of the season.
“We are 100 per cent convinced that Buyo is the right choice for the final phase of the season.” said sporting director Rouven Schröder. “He lives Schalke and Gelsenkirchen 24/7 and will give everything until the final matchday so we have a chance of promotion back to the Bundesliga.”
One of the so-called ‘Eurofighters’ who won the UEFA Cup with the Royal Blues in 1996/97, Büskens made over 300 appearances for the club before taking over the reserves upon retirement. The 53-year-old has previously had two spells as caretaker coach with the first team at the end of the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons.
He has also been head coach at Greuther Fürth, Fortuna Düsseldorf and Rapid Vienna before returning to Schalke and working as assistant coach under Huub Stevens and now Grammozis. Schröder confirmed that Büskens will – at his own request – return to his role as assistant for the next season.
Schröder had said the following on Sunday in the wake of dismissing Grammozis: “We’re in the period of the season where big decisions are made. We no longer had the conviction that our desired aim of promotion to the Bundesliga was highly probably under the current setup. We are therefore of the opinion that the team needs new impetus for the end of the season.”
Watch: Schalke’s 4-3 defeat to Rostock
Grammozis, 43, took over at the Veltins-Arena in March 2021 with the Royal Blues rock bottom of the Bundesliga and on their fifth coach of the season. He managed two wins and a draw from the final 11 matchdays, with the club already looking ahead to a rebuild in Bundesliga 2.
His record in the second tier was 12 wins, five draws and eight defeats from 25 games. It’s an average of 1.64 points per outing, but not currently enough in one of the tightest promotion races ever.
“Dimitrios took over Schalke in a very tough period and stabilised the club in a sporting sense following relegation and rebuilding in Bundesliga 2,” added Schröder and board member Peter Knäbel.
The latter continued: “The team has lacked the consistency we need since the start of the year, both in terms of results but in particular the central performance parameters. It’s that consistency that teams wanting to get promoted need.
“We remain convinced by the quality of the squad, but we need continuous development in the fight for the top places. We haven’t seen that.”
Büskens’s first match back in temporary charge of Die Knappen is on Sunday when Schalke head to bottom side Ingolstadt.
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