Schalke have appointed former player and USA international David Wagner as their new head coach. - © 2019 Getty Images
Schalke have appointed former player and USA international David Wagner as their new head coach. - © 2019 Getty Images
bundesliga

David Wagner named Schalke head coach

Schalke have appointed former player and USA international David Wagner as their new head coach for the 2019/20 season on a three-year deal.

The 47-year-old, who spent two seasons as a player with the Royal Blues, succeeds Huub Stevens in the dugout at the Veltins Arena after the Dutchman had stepped in on an interim basis following the dismissal of Domenico Tedesco in March.

"We're delighted to acquired the services of a coach in David Wagner, who fits our job profile perfectly," said Schalke head of sports, Jochen Schneider. "He's a coach with a pro-active approach, his teams take the initiative, run hard and play with tempo. He also has the personality to build a team and improve individual players."

Schalke finished Bundesliga runners-up last season, but have had it tough in 2018/19, only confirming their top-flight status with three games to go. They reached the UEFA Champions League last 16, losing to Manchester City, and were beaten by Bundesliga rivals Werder Bremen in the quarter-finals of the DFB Cup.

"I know from my own experience as a player the strength Schalke have when the team, club and fans pull together," explained Wagner. "To delve back into this world and make a change for the better in the current situation: that's my biggest motivation to return to the Bundesliga."

Wagner (l.) enjoyed a close working relationship with Klopp (r.) both as a player and a coach. - imago

Wagner was previously in charge of Huddersfield Town, where he achieved promotion to the English Premier League, having joined after four years overseeing Borussia Dortmund’s reserves. The English Football League Championship Manager of the Year for 2016/17 had began his coaching career in the youth teams of Hoffenheim.

The eight-time USMNT international enjoyed spells in the Bundesliga as a player with Eintracht Frankfurt and Schalke, with whom he lifted the 1997 UEFA Cup under the tutelage of his predecessor, Stevens.

Wagner also spent four years with Mainz in Bundesliga 2, playing alongside none other than Jürgen Klopp. The pair would be reunited some 15 years later when the new Schalke boss took charge of the BVB reserves while Klopp was guiding the first team to Bundesliga glory.