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ข่าวล่าสุด/ Troubled German soccer giants meet when Schalke plays Htha

Troubled German soccer giants meet when Schalke plays Htha

วันที่วางจำหน่าย:2022年11月22 เรียกดู:  ผู้เขียน:

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Troubled German soccer giants meet when Schalke plays Hertha

Schalkes Florent Mollet, left, and Simon Terodde battle for the ball with Hoffenheims Stanley NSoki during the Bundesliga soccer match between FC Schalke 04 and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Friday Oct. 14, 2022. (Bernd Thissen/dpa via AP)

DSSELDORF, Germany (AP) Schalke and Hertha Berlin have more in common than theyd like to admit.

Their club colors are blue and white, they see themselves as traditional powers of German soccer and theyve won only one league game each this season. At both clubs, lofty dreams of Champions League glory lie in ruins.

When they meet in the Bundesliga on Sunday, 17th-place Schalke and 15th-place Hertha will be looking for a win to kick-start their seasons and get as far away from the relegation zone as they can.

Schalke fired coach Frank Kramer on Wednesday after only four months in charge and after a five-game losing run. Whoever replaces him will be the clubs seventh permanent head coach since the start of 2020. The only mission is staying in the Bundesliga after promotion last season.

Relegation would be another blow to a club with chronic financial problems. Schalke spent heavily in an attempt to become a regular in the Champions League and was left even more exposed than most clubs when the pandemic slashed its income almost overnight. Billionaire club chairman Clemens Tönnies resigned in 2020 facing criticism for racist comments and a huge outbreak of coronavirus infections at one of his companys slaughterhouses.

Its unclear will be replace Kramer as Schalke coach. Given the clubs money troubles and thin squad, its not the most desirable job around. A knee injury for Leo Greiml means Schalke now has four central defenders unavailable until 2023, further weakening a back line which has conceded 15 goals in its last four games.

Hertha, too, is a club adjusting its expectations. Starting in 2019, businessman Lars Windhorst invested 374 million euros ($367 million) in the club with grand plans. Windhorsts vision was to turn Hertha into a Big City Club and a Champions League power. If London, Paris and Madrid had teams fighting for European titles, why not Berlin?

Now the relationship between Windhorst and the Hertha members has soured andhe is asking for his money back. Results on the field over the last three seasons have gone backward 10th in the league, then 14th, then 16th, with survival only in a relegation playoff.

Even worse for Hertha fans is watching local rival Union Berlin soar to the top of the Bundesliga standings. Union has a four-point lead and is visiting last-place Bochum on Sunday.

Its been a tough few years for traditional big clubs in Germany like Hertha and Schalke. Bayern Munich has powered to an unprecedented 10 consecutive Bundesliga titles with the help of Champions League TV money and global commercial deals. Borussia Dortmund has built an international brand as the team for exciting young talents. The remaining Champions League spots have often gone to clubs like Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim that have close ties to multinational companies or deep-pocketed investors.

Windhorst was supposed to be Herthas answer to that trend, while Schalke sought to keep up with a now-canceled 15-year alliance with Russian state gas company Gazprom.

With such intense competition on finances, several German giants have had to accept a more modest role. And it could be worse. The second division is full of once-big names like Hamburg, which had never been relegated until 2018 and is now in its fourth season outside the top division after losing last seasons playoff to, coincidentally, Hertha.

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