Roberto Di Matteo moves to Germany as new Schalke manager
Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed the new manager of Bundesliga club Schalke (100/1 to win) on a three-year deal, his first position since his sacking at former club Chelsea in November, 2012.
The Swiss-born Italian replaces former boss Jens Keller, who won just two games from seven this season so far in the German top flight, leaving them in 11th place and on eight points. They were also knocked out of the DFB-Pokal in the first round.
Keller was dismissed on the same day, following the 2-1 loss to Hoffenheim, of Di Matteo’s appointment, suggesting the latter had already been lined up as a swift replacement.
Schalke’s commercial manager Horst Heldt gave reason for Keller’s departure on the club website, saying: “The team’s performances have fluctuated greatly in the last few weeks.
We’re lacking the consistency necessary to achieve our sporting objectives which is why we’ve decided to take this step. We shouldn’t forget that Jens Keller has done good work over the last 22 months, and Schalke thank him for that.”
While, on the appointment of Di Matteo, whose first game in charge is against Hertha Berlin on October 18th, he added: “We hope that changing coaches will create a new dynamic at our club.”
“We are convinced that Roberto Di Matteo will stabilize our team and that he will manage to achieve our goals in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League.”
That latter competition, of course, is a trophy that the ex-Italy international has already got his hands on as a manager. He guided Chelsea to their first European Cup triumph as a caretaker coach, beating Bayern Munich on penalties, after being promoted to the top position following Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking just months before.
Di Matteo also claimed the FA Cup in a remarkable campaign against all the odds, and was ultimately awarded a permanent two-year contract. However, Roman Abramovic controversially replaced him with Rafa Benitez after just three months into the following season.
Having been brought up in and played for Swiss city side Schaffhausen, Di Matteo speaks fluent German, so he will be able to fit in and take control of the dressing room immediately.
The 44-year-old will be aiming to emulate Schalke’s impressive third place Bundesliga finish last term.
Ironically, the German club have also been drawn in Group G of the Champions League with Chelsea. Unfortunately for Di Matteo, though, his new side have already played the Blues at Stamford Bridge, drawing 1-1, but face a home fixture against them on November 25th.
Schalke have two points from as many games in Europe elite club competition, and sit in third place. They are second-favourites both to top the pool at 6/1 and odds-on at 2/5 to qualify. Sporting Lisbon and Maribor make up the group.