Würzburgs crash: Schiele, Magath and lots of chaos

Just a year after being relegated from the 2nd division, the Würzburger Kickers were relegated to the 4th division. It is the abrupt end of an extremely successful chapter in the club’s history.

Better not to look: Marvin Pourié and Würzburger Kickers have been relegated from the 3rd division.
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It was a Tuesday when the end began. Today, more than a year and a half later, we all know that the fall of Würzburg began in September 2020, when the Kickers parted ways with their promotion coach Michael Schiele.

What followed were chaotic months, countless coaches and even more wrong decisions. The consequence: second relegation in a row, return to Regionalliga Bayern after seven years in professional football.

Magath will take office in early 2020

It’s a cold January day before the pandemic when Kickers invites you to their sponsor’s office on the outskirts of Würzburg. Outside the backdrop of the vineyards, inside, high above the city, Thorsten Fischer sits in the camera storm and almost bursting with pride. Next to the chairman of the board, none other than Felix Magath took his place, title coach, European champion as a player, one of the big names in the Bundesliga.

Felix Magath (left) and Thorsten Fischer.

Big plans in early 2020: Felix Magath (left) and Thorsten Fischer.
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It should now be about Kickers, about big goals, about the joint project that Fischer and Magath want to make Würzburg big with. Fischer says he “hardly knows anyone in German football who has had such great success as a player, manager and coach” like Magath. “Perhaps,” said Fischer, there was still Franz Beckenbauer to mention, the Emperor – but otherwise he could only think of Magath. And of course, since Magath is an ingenious chess player, he is now “the king” for us.

There were gloomy words that Magath was introduced to as a consultant at Kickers, words that somehow sounded wrong in the ears of the Würzburgers, too cocky.

The second division year is completely messed up

A few months later, the club moved up to the 2nd division, but then they made a serious mistake that still matters today: He fired Michael Schiele.

At the end of a completely screwed-up season with four coaches and just six wins, the Kickers were relegated, Magath went, and the rebuild in league three went wrong across the board. The nominally not badly cast team found neither support under Torsten Ziegner nor under his successor Danny Schwarz.

Three coaches, but no success

When he was replaced by interim coach Ralf Santelli in mid-February, the Kickers were already deep inside the relegation battle. Even under Santelli, the turnaround failed despite promising approaches and a small number of successes in the beginning.

Kickers also made headlines off the field, for example with the firing of sporting director Sebastian Schuppan, with the upheaval on the management floor and with the bag around striker Marvin Pourié.

Planning for the short and long term future has already begun

Although those responsible for sports director Sebastian Neumann still tried to be optimistic (“As long as everything is mathematically possible …”), the upcoming regional league season planned and the long-term future, including the redesign of the stadium, has long since begun. A significant part of the plans is the new coach Marco Wildersinn, the eighth head coach since September 2020.

End of a very successful chapter

With Wildersinn, the Kickers not only embark on the next reconstruction, they also open a new chapter in their club’s history – after all, a seven-year episode in professional football ends with a second relegation in a row.

In 2015, FWK moved up from the regional league under the leadership of Bernd Hollerbach and marched sensationally through to the 2nd league. After just one season, Würzburg returned to the third division, but laid the foundation for lasting success with Schiele.

That’s what it’s all about now.

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