“Team player” Kramer starts his mission as Schalke coach

Frank Kramer should manage to stay in the Bundesliga with Schalke. The 50-year-old follows in the footsteps of a club icon. He should work closely with his predecessor.

Frank Kramer is presented at a press conference as the new coach of FC Schalke 04.  (Image: dpa) Photo: Tim Rehbein/dpa

Frank Kramer is presented at a press conference as the new coach of FC Schalke 04. (Image: dpa)
(Photo: Tim Rehbein/dpa)

Gelsenkirchen – Frank Kramer used his start at FC Schalke 04 for a brief self-description that fits the Malocher club. “I’m a worker,” said the new Revierclub coach at his official presentation.

He described himself as an honest and accessible person, as someone “who rolls up his sleeves”. With confidence and humility, the 50-year-old wants to tackle the mission of remaining in the Bundesliga with the newly promoted team.

“I’m super happy to be here. Schalke is one of the biggest clubs in Germany. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere in the Veltins Arena. When you think about it, you get goosebumps,” said Kramer in the catacombs of Schalke’s football temple. He, sports director Rouven Schröder and board member Peter Knäbel spoke for around 45 minutes about their goals and expectations. They used the words “community” and “team” over and over again.

“Frank is an absolute team player”

As the successor to interim coach and promotion coach Mike Büskens, Kramer has received a contract until 2024. “Frank is an absolute team player. Someone who can lead people and likes to gather experts to find the best possible solution for the team. And at the same time he is always ready to go ahead and take on responsibility – a combination that we believe is a success,” said Schröder. The 46-year-old knows Kramer from their times together at SpVgg Greuther Fürth. “I’m glad you’re here, Frank,” said the sporting director.

Kramer’s ability as a team player, which was emphasized again on Tuesday, will be particularly important for Schalke. Contrary to what is now common with many coaching changes, he does not bring his entire team with him. Among other things, he will work with Büskens, who will voluntarily step back into the second rank.

Kramer has to be measured by the success of his predecessor. Büskens not only rose to prominence as a coach, but as a player he was also part of the Eurofighter side that won the 1997 UEFA Cup against Inter Milan. The 54-year-old is a Schalke through and through. It is correspondingly popular around Rudi-Assauer-Platz.

According to Kramer, this is not a problem. “On the contrary: I’m really happy to have Mike by my side,” he said. “I’m a team player, Mike is a total team player. Nothing fits in between.” His willingness to work with the old Schalke warriors, which also includes Gerald Asamoah, is one of the big pluses for Kramer.

“We want to play passionately and be brave”

Born in Memminger, he was only released on April 20 by Arminia Bielefeld, who was later relegated. Knäbel set the direction for his time with the new employer: “Initially, we asked ourselves independently and fundamentally what profile a new coach should have in order to play football successfully with Schalke 04. And success in our current situation means staying up in the 2022/2023 league – that’s what it’s all about.”

Before his time at Arminia, Kramer worked at Fortuna Düsseldorf, TSG Hoffenheim and in Fürth, among others. The sports and English teacher is tactically a friend of a stable back four in defense and an advocate of a run-intensive game. “We want to play football that suits FC Schalke. We want to play passionately and be brave,” he said. “With this passion and with burning hearts, I hope that the fans go home and think: This is our Schalke 04.”

In addition to his time at professional clubs, Kramer has already gained experience with several youth national teams of the German Football Association. He will also have more contact with young players at Schalke. The financially stricken Revierclub cannot afford many seasoned, expensive Bundesliga professionals even after the return to the Premier League during this transfer period.

Now that the new coach is here, the squad planning should be pushed forward. “We have implemented a few things that we will now gradually announce,” said Schröder. Kramer wants to train with his new team for the first time on June 20th. He will have gotten to know his new club even better by then. Or to put it in the words of Knäbel: “As of today, Frank Kramer is Schalke.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220607-99-574851/5