Schalke Sack David Wagner: Where next for the former Huddersfield manager?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 28 September 2020, 14:01

The Premier League may be relatively quiet so far on the managerial front, but over in Germany the Bundesliga has already witnessed its first casualty of the season after Schalke sacked David Wagner.

The former Huddersfield boss was dismissed on Sunday just two games into the current campaign following an 8-0 spanking at Bayern Munich and a 3-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen.

However, Wagner’s departure didn’t exactly take too many people by surprise considering that Schalke had gone a staggering 18 games and eight months without a single league win. Ouch.

We take a look at what Wagner’s next steps could be...

The Premier League

After winning a historic promotion from the Championship in 2017, Wagner went on to enjoy a decent debut campaign in the Premier League with Huddersfield

Just about everyone had the Terriers down to suffer an instant return to the second-tier, yet Wagner’s troops swatted away the critics as they finished four points clear of the drop zone, and even stunned Man Utd 2-1 in front of a raucous home support at The John Smith's Stadium.

However, the following January Wagner vacated his post via ‘mutual consent’ with the club rock-bottom of the top-flight - they were later relegated.

Over the years he’s been linked with the likes of Leicester, Everton and West Ham but should a Premier League vacancy come available anytime soon it would be a surprise if Wagner found himself in the frame.

The Championship

After experiencing 18 months of life in the Premier League dugout, Wagner’s best hope of returning to England’s top-flight could come via the Championship.

When the German-American was last in the division he completely transformed Huddersfield; miraculously propelling the club from 19th in 2016 to promotion the following year.

At the moment there are no jobs available but that could soon change with Sabri Lamouchi under-pressure at Nottingham Forest following the club’s worst start for 66 years.

Attempting to revive a club such as Forest - who haven’t been in the Premier League since 1999 - would surely appeal to him.

Otherwise, it probably won’t be too long until another Championship job becomes available.

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Where next for Wagner?

Stay in Germany

Wagner began his coaching career at the helm of Borussia Dortmund reserves in 2011; a post he held for four years, during which he won promotion to the German third tier. 

“He was very strict and made sure he got what he wanted,” former Dortmund player Mustafa Amini told Goal. “I still remember how we lost a friendly game against a fourth or fifth division team. The next morning we had to be at the training ground at 4 am.

“We were running uphill with medicine balls for an hour and a half. This shows the ruthlessness of German football.”

Given that he’s spent the majority of the last five years in senior management, it would be a surprise if Wagner went back into coaching.

He may instead plan to wait for another Bundesliga opening, but while his reputation has been knocked due to the manner of Schalke’s 2020 collapse, he did previously get the club in Champions League contention following a superb start to his tenure.

What about the MLS?

Wagner may decide that a complete change of scenery is the route he wants to go down.

As the son of an American father and German mother, during his playing career Wagner opted to play for the United States despite previously playing for Germany’s U18 and U21 teams.

He went on to pull on the US colours eight times between 1996 and 1998.

Wagner was previously been linked with the US National Team job following Bruce Arena’s departure in 2017. While they’ve since found a replacement in Gregg Berhalter, Wagner may fancy entering the domestic set-up: The MLS.

After a difficult couple of years in Europe, a new chapter in a new continent could be just the ticket.

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