And the Würzburger Kickers team is in the third division on the abyss – sports

Initially a reminder of meeting Michael Sheel, it’s been just over a year now. Late on a Friday evening in Dorfmerkingen, a small town between Aalen and Nördlingen, Schiele was sitting at his dining table in the living room with a Swabian sausage salad. Outside the courtyard door, it was long ago dark over the Dorfmerkingen.

Now that Schiele was able to enjoy the atmosphere of his native village and spend time chopping wood in front of the house on a sunny day, he seemed completely relaxed and balanced. But when the conversation turned to Würzburger Kickers and his sudden dismissal after just two days of matches, it was clear how much he was fond of the club.

It has been almost half a year since his release. When he spoke about his sudden end, it became clear once again how close he was to him at the time. Schiele was the designer of Würzburg’s success for three years. Together with then-CEO Daniel Sawyer, he first laid the foundations, then gradually built the team that finally led him to the second division before being released at the end of September.

The fact that this could happen has a lot to do with the wrong decisions made last summer

You have to keep all of that in mind when you think about this Saturday afternoon kickers game. When Schiele, 43, sat in the media room next, in a gray jacket and the Eintracht Braunschweig crest across his chest, he reviewed 90 minutes before he suddenly stumbled. He wanted to give the people of Würzburg courage, a little solace, words of encouragement for the next few weeks, but he knew the situation was now hopeless. “It’s going to be very tight, but hope is always there while it’s still possible,” Schiele said.

Four games before the end of the season, ten points separate Würzburg and the no-relegation zone. The move to the regional league is as good as it gets, and we now know that the breakdown began in September 2020 with Schiele’s sacking. The decision, made by the then club advisor, Felix Magath, shook the entire club. What followed was months of chaos with dozens of coaches coming and going – and now the kickers are on edge.

“We knew we had good opponents who were at the back but got sick,” Schiele said on Saturday. It was a polite phrase, made with decency. However, the fact that it’s not top-notch, but something local that brought the Kickers back to the threshold of amateur football seven years later has been shown time and time again over the course of this season. The 0:1 score on Saturday was just one final push in the relegation battle, those 90 minutes that finally gave Würzburg certainty that it wouldn’t be enough.

The fact that she managed to get this far has a lot to do with the wrong decisions made last summer. After relegation from the second division, it was up to then sporting director Sebastian Chopin to begin the reconstruction. Assigning Torsten Ziegner to the coaching position turned out to be a mistake, as was the composition of the team. The Kickers didn’t win one of their first eight games and even then they found no foundation when it was no longer Ziegner but Danny Schwartz who was on the sidelines. A third coach, Ralph Santelli, is now in charge of the team – but there was something in it that Philip Eckart on Saturday in Braunschweig who shared the podium in the press room with Schiele after the match. Because Santelli had seen red in the previous 1-2 draw against Kaiserslautern, Eckart, the man who served as Kickers’ assistant coach under Schiele, intervened.

Since then, they have had a strong relationship. It was a special moment when Schiele and Eckart were sitting next to each other after the decisive defeat at Würzburg. It will be, there is no way to beat it, one of the last images to stay in your head in the third division Würzburger Kickers.

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