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Quick wins, no success (nd current)

by archysport

Difficult guy with expectations that are too high: Jörg Schmadtke, Sports Director of VfL Wolfsburg

Photo: imago images / Noah Wedel

When Florian Kohfeldt is officially presented as the new coach at VfL Wolfsburg this Thursday, the usual advance praise will be distributed on both sides. When this personnel decision was announced by the club on Tuesday evening, the first appropriate words were spoken. “We are convinced that he can identify with our path and that we will get back on the road to success together with him,” said sports director Marcel Schäfer.

The fact that the VfL footballers have a new boss just two days after Mark van Bommel’s dismissal is due to the fact that in Kohfeldt a really hopeful candidate was immediately available. The 39-year-old was named Trainer of the Year in 2018. For almost four years at Werder Bremen, until his dismissal in the summer, he proved how a club on strict austerity can still be kept in the Bundesliga. Maybe he would have succeeded again in May if he hadn’t had to leave one match day before the end of the season.

A coach dismissal after only nine match days comes quite early. Such quick decisions are by no means uncommon in the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg is therefore also an example of fateful conditions. Last season, VfL qualified for the Champions League – the longing goal of all clubs, from a financial point of view. Well, after eight competitive games without a win, Jörg Schmadtke declared the separation from Mark van Bommel. “We thought that we could saddle up on what we have here,” said the sports director.

There are many errors in this justification. The first: Wolfsburg has overestimated itself in the competition for the very large pots of money. How tough this is, shows that VfL, as a factory club supported by VW, has only reached the Champions League for the third time. In general, quick wins are not success, at least not necessarily more sustainable. Last season was an outstanding one for VfL – because the team mostly played at the limit and had the necessary luck with seven wins with only one goal difference. In addition, goal scorer Wout Weghorst got into a rarely good run with his 20 hits. Schmadtke misunderstood all of this in his analysis. He also disregarded the new multiple exposure at the highest level. And maybe the newcomers brought in for more than 50 million euros are not as good as hoped.

The victim of Schmadtke’s unhealthy impatience was Mark van Bommel, whom he put too much pressure on as a new coach in the summer with too high demands – and left too little time. In addition, Schmadtke is not an easy guy, atmospheric disturbances between him as head of sports and some coaches have not only existed in Wolfsburg since 2018, but also in his four years with three coaches in Hanover.

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