DThe encounter has features of a class reunion when VfL Bochum on Saturday evening (6.30 p.m. in FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and at Sky) as a guest Schalke will be in the neighboring town of Gelsenkirchen. We haven't seen each other for a long time, since 2010 this small but traditional district derby has not been able to take place.
Since then, either one club has played in the second Bundesliga or the other, but that's not the only reason old friends meet here. Schalke's sports director is on the sidelines Rouven Schroeder met the new Bochum sports manager Patrick Fabian, with whom he once formed a central defender duo in the VfL second team.
Schröder played together with Bochum coach Thomas Reis in the 2001/2002 season on Castroper Strasse in the second division, and there are reports that the Schalke sports director and Bochum head coach also met in the spring. Supposedly to explore the possibilities of cooperation. Following this exchange, Reis is said to have asked the Bochum club management to be allowed to switch to Schalke, but he was not given clearance.
Reis loses support
This story has in Bochum triggered severe shocks, meanwhile it is even conceivable that those responsible at VfL Reis will soon be released. In any case, some observers find it difficult to imagine that the ailing coach will be allowed to stay if Bochum also lose their sixth Bundesliga game of the season to Schalke.
At the beginning of the week, sports director Fabian did not want to clearly acknowledge Reis when asked about the consequences of another defeat: "We look at how the team is performing during the week and during the game. Then we'll see," he said.
In any case, Reis is pretty shocked by the stories about his alleged flirtation with Schalke, which he assures that it never happened like that. "You're only human. What has befallen me in the last week is not nice. It got to me a little bit,” he says. After developing the club from a relegation contender in the second division to a acclaimed Bundesliga team in three years, his reputation has now been damaged.
"I don't know by whom or why this rumor started, and I will probably never know who the whistleblowers were," he says. The unrest is enormous in Bochum, who, as bottom of the table in the Bundesliga, actually have enough other problems.
A dishonest look
Twice on Thursday, Reis was asked if he made a mistake, after which he initially said, "What does 'made a mistake' mean? In the end, the unrest comes from the fact that we don't have any points." In any case, the negotiations that have already begun about an extension of his contract with VfL, which runs until the end of the season, have been postponed to November for the time being, and the dreamers among the fans can say again : In the past, when people like Uwe Seeler or Uli Hoeneß were always loyal to the club, everything was better. However, this view of the pro operation is quite dishonest.
If things don't go well, the fan curves quickly yell: "Coach out!" But when a coach meets an official from another club for an exchange and can even imagine a professional reorientation, the same people see it as fraud felt. It is natural for every employee to listen to offers for the next career step when they come from an interesting company.
In the circus arena of football, such behavior is considered a breach of taboo, and VfL's nerves are now on edge. “There was a commotion during the week after goalkeeper Manuel Riemann insulted a team-mate. "I used a word during training today that you don't use," Riemann said afterwards in a video that he published on Instagram. At that moment he had "not lived up to his role as a role model".
It will probably only get quieter on Castroper Straße when the points account fills up, which might even suit Schalke coach Frank Kramer. Kramer is also under pressure because he has not yet been able to dispel the doubts about his suitability for the difficult job that have been circulating since his first day at Schalke.
If Reis is theoretically available for Schalke after being released, the rumors about the talks allegedly held between Schröder and the Bochum soccer coach could very quickly disrupt the peace in Gelsenkirchen.