Schalke president Clemens Tonnies has given his support to the club’s director of sport Horst Heldt for hiring Roberto Di Matteo as manager after sacking Jens Keller last week.
The move may also be seen as a test for Heldt as he will be judged on how successful Di Matteo is in Die Königsblauen hotseat. Prior to removing Keller, Heldt had already relieved Felix Magath and Huub Stevens of their duties while Ralf Rangnick also left the club due to exhaustion.
It was Heldt who picked the new coach each time and his decision to bring in the former Chelsea manager has been praised by Tonnies. “He’s got my full backing,” the Schalke president told Sport Bild magazine. “He was looking for a fantastic coach and he got one. It is all down to him and he did a great job.”
Keller was initially a controversial choice when he arrived at Schalke and he did not enjoy the club’s entire backing, as he was seen more as a temporary solution. Having guided the Gelsenkirchen club into the Champions League for two years running, Keller has been an unexpected success but a slump in results this season saw Schalke move him out. “It was looking increasingly unlikely that he was going to stay beyond the summer anyway,” Tonnies said. “Given the latest matches, which we were no longer able to influence positively, we said that we had to do it now