Schalke fires Markus Weinzierl as coach, appoints Tedesco
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) Schalke fired Markus Weinzierl as coach after only one season and appointed Domenico Tedesco in his place on Friday.
The 31-year-old Tedesco was taking over with immediate effect and getting a two-year deal, the Bundesliga club said.
Tedesco took over second-division club Erzgebirge Aue in March and saved it from relegation. He previously coached the junior ranks at Hoffenheim and Stuttgart.
''Tedesco does not yet have a lot of experience in the professional field, but he convinced us in the talks about how he wants to shape the sporting future at Schalke. Like many other clubs, we are settling on a very young and very innovative coach,'' sporting director Christian Heidel said.
Schalke finished 10th in the Bundesliga and blew its chances of European soccer when it failed to win any of its last three games. It lost more games than it won.
The club had qualified for European competition for the previous seven seasons.
''We examined the whole season to establish the basis for a possible successful coming season for Schalke. The result of our deliberations is that we must make changes to drive the development we want,'' said Heidel, who said the decision against Weinzierl was ''not easy.''
Much was expected of Weinzierl when he arrived after four successful years at Augsburg. Schalke paid a reported 3 million euros for him to break his contract.
Players like Nabil Bentaleb, Breel Embolo, Yevhen Konoplyanka and Benjamin Stambouli came to shore up the squad, but they failed to gel and Schalke started the league with five defeats.
Despite more signings in winter - Daniel Caligiuri, Holger Badstuber and Guido Burgstaller - Schalke failed to make up for its poor start.
Weinzierl wasn't helped by injuries. Spanish defender Coke suffered a cruciate ligament injury one day after joining from Sevilla and Swiss forward Embolo was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury in October.
Progress in the Europa League offered relief until Schalke failed to hold onto a 3-0 lead and went out to Ajax Amsterdam in the quarterfinals.
Heidel, who also joined Schalke last year before appointing Weinzierl, was unhappy with the team's development.
''I want that the team shows a clear concept on the pitch. I wasn't able to see it,'' Heidel said.
Heidel has previous experience of hiring untested young coaches. He appointed Juergen Klopp and then Thomas Tuchel at his previous club Mainz.
For Heidel, Tedesco's appointment must pay off or his job too will be under threat.