Burnout forces Rangnick to quit as Schalke coach

Schalke 04 coach Ralf Rangnick said he was resigning his post at the Bundesliga side due on Thursday to extreme burnout syndrome.

Burnout forces Rangnick to quit as Schalke coach
Photo: DPA

The 53-year-old Rangnick quit Schalke with immediate effect on his own terms after just six months in charge. He was the second German league coach to part company with his club after Hamburg sacked coach Michael Oenning on Monday.

For Saturday’s home Bundesliga game against Freiburg, assistant coaches Josef Eichkorn and Markus Gisdol have stepped in for the interim until a replacement is found.

“After long and careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that I need a break,” said Rangnick on Schalke’s web page.

“I found it incredibly hard to make a decision like this, but my current energy levels are not high enough to succeed and in particular to advance the team and the club. I am taking this step for the benefit of the team, who I wish every success for the rest of the season.”

Schalke’s general manager Horst Heldt said the news had taken the club by surprise, but they respected the decision after Rangnick admitted suffering from disturbed sleep, restlessness and poor appetite, especially in the last two weeks.

“It pulled the ground from under our feet, because the signs were not recognisable,” said Heldt.

Schalke’s chief executive officer Clemens Tönnies echoed that the news had come ‘like a lightning strike’ and the Royal Blues did not yet have a successor in mind.

Having come to Schalke just two months after leaving Hoffenheim in January, Rangnick has taken few breaks from football since 2005 and Schalke’s team doctor Thorsten Rarreck said the coach had done the right thing.

“He realised enough is enough. He has had a killer job for the last five years, if he had taken a four- or five-month break, perhaps this wouldn’t have happened,” said Rarreck.

“This is very brave of him. I know lots of people who in the same situation would have thought they have to go on. It will take him a few months to recover, but unlike depression, burnout is reversible.”

President of the German Football Federation (DFB) Theo Zwanziger said Rangnick’s decision shows things have changed slightly in Germany since the tragic suicide of goalkeeper Robert Enke in November 2009 after suffering from depression.

“Perhaps the situation in the hard world of professional football has changed a little bit after all the discussions surrounding the tragic death of Robert Enke,” Zwanziger told daily Bild.

Rangnick took over as Schalke boss on March 17 after the Royal Blues sacked Felix Magath, who is now coach of 2009 champions VfL Wolfsburg.


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EXPLAINED: The Covid rules for attending German football matches

The German Bundesliga kicks off on Friday evening with a match in Mönchengladbach. Here's a run-down of the Covid rules for football fans itching to join the crowds at the stadium.

EXPLAINED: The Covid rules for attending German football matches
Crowds cheer at a match between FC Kaiserslautern and Borussia Mönchengladbach, on August 9th, 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Uwe Anspach

All eyes will be on Mönchengladbach this evening as the Bundesliga season kicks off with a match against reigning champions Bayern Munich – and this time, a crowd will be present in the stadium.

READ ALSO: German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season

With several states liberalising their rules for public gatherings in recent months, many football fans are looking forward to enjoying a lively atmosphere at football matches once more. 

There’s just one problem: there are different rules for different stadiums. Here’s what you need to know about the Covid rules before you book your ticket for any of the upcoming fixtures. 

How many fans are allowed in the stadiums? 

According to a recent decision by the federal and state governments, football stadiums around the country are allowed to fill half of their seats and sell up to 25,000 tickets to fans. 

Of course, how much this limit affects the overall atmosphere – and the football clubs’ bottoms lines – depends on the capacity of the stadium. In Borussia Dortmund this weekend, the full 25,000 tickets have been sold – but that only equates to 30 percent of the stadium’s full capacity.

READ ALSO: German football: Which Bundesliga club should I support?

Meanwhile, in the stadium owned by Berlin’s FC Union, selling just 11,000 tickets is enough to fill half of the available seats. 

What do I need to show to get in? 

That really depends on the stadium in question, although in general anyone over the age of six will need to show a negative test or proof of vaccination or recovery – the so-called ‘3G’ rule – to enter the grounds. But other clubs, such as FC Cologne, have decided to only permit people who are vaccinated or recovered to attend matches from August 28th onwards – with exceptions for people who can’t get vaccinated, like children and pregnant woman.

At Mönchengladbach’s Borussia Park stadium, however, unvaccinated fans can enter with a negative test, though visitors who’ve stayed in a high-risk or virus variant area over the past two weeks will be unable to enter – along with people who’ve had recent contact with someone who has Covid. 

If you want to see action like this at FC Cologne’s stadium, you’ll need to get your Covid jabs sorted first. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Robert Michael

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund has taken a middle ground. While the 3G rule applies in principle, only 1,000 of the available 25,000 tickets will be sold to people who are providing a negative test. The remaining 24,000 seats will only be available for those who are vaccinated against – or recently recovered from – Covid. 

If you’re not vaccinated and are keen to see a match, it’s worth checking on your local club’s website beforehand or sending them an email to double-check whether you will be allowed in. 

What else do I need to know about? 

You’ll need to bring a FPP2 mask with you to matches to wear in your seat and while heading to the bathroom or bar, and also observe social distancing rules – meaning staying 1.5 metres apart from your fellow fans.

In most states, you’ll also need to provide your contact details, which will be saved by the club and potentially passed on to local health authorities in order to monitor a potential Covid outbreak. 

Will these rules continue throughout the season?

That’s still an open question. If infection rates in Germany continue to rise or high-profile superspreading events occur at future matches, the government could potentially crack down further on sports events in autumn.

This could involve limiting the seat numbers even further, or (more controversially), introducing a ‘vaccinated-only’ rule for entering stadiums. 

READ ALSO: Should Germany bring in Covid restrictions for unvaccinated people only?

A recent outbreak of Covid in the Mainz football team has also dampened celebrations slightly in the run-up to the start of the Bundesliga – leaving club owners urgently calling for both fans and footballers to get vaccinated. 

Speaking to WDR ahead of the season’s start, FC Cologne’s managing director Alexander Wehrle said widespread vaccination was the best route back to normality – a message reiterated by Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann.