Schalke 04 from the outside always looks to be a dark horse for the Bundesliga title and yet, has never quite managed to keep up with the leading pack.
When it comes to the Bundesliga, few clubs have it all. Money to spend on new players and an excellent youth academy that is willing to integrate young players into the first team.
Schalke 04, along with their local rivals Dortmund and league leaders Bayern, have all the components of becoming a successful club yet always seem to be a step behind.
While their local rivals Borussia Dortmund have slowly gotten better over recent years and are trying to establish themselves as a European force, Schalke who were once seen as giants, have slowly withered away in the past few years.
2011, a year many Schalke fans will remember, a season in which Schalke defied expectations and rose above them. The year of their historic Champions League run where Manchester United ultimately beat them in the semifinals.
Seeing that Schalke team perform to such a high level in the biggest competition in the world made many people speculate on where this young and vibrant team were going to end up in the coming seasons.
While Schalke were never able to rise to the same levels again, their stagnation has been an incredible journey to watch as a neutral.
To find the root of their problem is a difficult thing to do. Finding the reason why Schalke have not advanced in the last few years, could be contributed to a lot of factors.
A lack of stability, poor management, poor coaching and no direction have all been accredited to Schalke’s stagnation.
Despite that, every season experts will predict a top 4 finish from Schalke only for the likes of Leverkusen, Gladbach, and Wolfsburg to surpass them.
The Schalke 04 squad has potential to achieve great results, but potential alone does not win games. What Schalke need more than anything is a leader and a direction to follow.
Heidel most certainly has an eye for finding the right coach. The man who promoted Jürgen Klopp from a player to a coach and Thomas Tuchel from youth coach to the head coach of the first team was none other than Heidel himself.
Two coaches that have gone on to become some of the best in the business were all found by Christian Heidel himself.
Now at Schalke, Heidel is trying to work his magic again, this time transforming Schalke from a consistent Europa League team to a team that will challenge Dortmund for the second position.
With new head coach Markus Weinzierl under his wing, this could be Schalke’s revolution. If he can achieve what his predecessor couldn’t, remains to be seen, but one thing is sure.
If Heidel can’t turn Schalke into a European force, it’s unlikely anyone can.