Five weeks into the new season, five Bundesliga match-days, one Pokal round and one Champions League match-day, that’s how long it’s taken for the first departure of the season. It’s both expected and unexpected. Unexpected in the sense that a few months ago, not even a few weeks ago no-one would have put money on Gladbach being the first club to part ways with their manager, Lucien Favre. But with recent events it was inevitable, the loss to local rivals Köln on Saturday being the final tipping point it seems. My money would have been on Alexander Zorniger being the first to go. Though despite the fact that Stuttgart are in 17th place and are still without a win, they aren’t actually playing that bad. The same can not be said of Gladbach. In recent weeks they’ve looked nothing like the dynamic and defensively sound team that played such exciting football last season.
At any rate Stuttgart certainly didn’t deserve to lose to Schalke today. You get the sense that changing the manager won’t help them much, maybe they’ve figured that out by now, that their problems go so much deeper and maybe the ridiculous merry go round of managers will come to a halt there. I can’t believe I actually find myself feeling sorry for Stuttgart, especially with the grudge I hold against them. Partly because of the way they did just enough to survive last season, but mostly because of the 4-1 hammering of Freiburg at home last year. But with their luck, it’s impossible not to. They had 26 shots on goal to Schalke’s 10, and missed at least three easy chances right in front of goal. With luck like that it’s difficult not to feel bad for them.
With losing every single one of their games so far, with the exception of their Pokal win against St. Pauli, it was only a matter of time before Gladbach and Favre parted ways. Last season the first manager to be sacked was HSV’s Mirko Slomka who was fired on the 15th September, so only five days difference. It’s ironic that it was HSV who beat Gladbach 3-0 just last Friday. HSV managed to survive having been the first to sack their manager last season, will the same be true of Gladbach?
On Thursday whilst talking about Gladbach’s woes I said that it would be incredibly strange for them to get relegated, to go from qualifying for the Champions League on season to being relegated the next. I hope that does not happen, not because I’m particularly fond of them, but them getting relegated would get in the way of who I actually want to go down. One thing’s for certain, they should not have let Max Kruse go.