Schalke fires coach Kramer after run of heavy defeats

Head coach Frank Kramer of FC Schalke 04 gestures during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and TSG Hoffenheim at Veltins-Arena on October 14, 2022 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Schalke fired coach Frank Kramer on Wednesday after four months in charge following a run of losses which left the club in the Bundesliga relegation zone.

Schalke was knocked out of the German Cup with a 5-1 loss to Hoffenheim in the second round on Tuesday, the club's fifth successive defeat in all competitions.

Schalke, which was promoted back to the top flight for this season, is 17th in the 18-team league. Its only win in 10 league games this season was against last-place Bochum.

Board member Peter Knabel highlighted the loss at Hoffenheim and a 4-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen as being particularly “not worthy of FC Schalke 04" and hinted at more changes to come.

“Our analysis will therefore also go beyond the head coach as an individual," Knäbel said. "We are going to have to improve significantly in all areas to be able to achieve our big goal, staying up.”

There was no immediate word on a successor, and Schalke said assistant coaches were handling training Wednesday. Schalke's next game is at Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Sunday. With Hertha on its own five-game winless run in the league, it's an opportunity for Schalke to pick up valuable points.

Schalke is traditionally one of Germany's main soccer clubs, but plunged into financial problems in 2020 blamed on the coronavirus pandemic and years of heavy spending without enough Champions League revenue to cover the costs. 

Relegation followed at the end of the 2020-21 season. Schalke split with its main sponsor, Russian state gas company Gazprom, in February following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Kramer was hired as coach in June after Schalke was promoted back to the Bundesliga under interim coach Mike Buskens. Five of the Bundesliga's 18 clubs have changed coaches this season after firings at Leipzig, Leverkusen, Stuttgart and Bochum.

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