Martin Schmidt steps down as coach of Wolfsburg

The club is reeling after the 50-year-old informed them that he felt the club needed fresh impetus for ongoing relegation battle.

Martin Schmidt steps down as coach of Wolfsburg
Martin Schmidt. | Photo: Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images.

Martin Schmidt has resigned as head coach of VfL Wolfsburg after just five months at the club.

It comes after the club won just once in the last nine games, with his final game in charge the 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich on Saturday.

The club will now be looking for their fifth permanent manager since the start of last season, with an interim option or permanent successor set to be put in place by Tuesday afternoon.

Wolfsburg “regret” Schmidt’s decision

Schmidt, who left 1. FSV Mainz 05 last summer, was appointed as the successor to Andries Jonker in September, and initially stabilise the side with a run of eight successive draws, including against Bayern as well as top-four challengers Bayer Leverkusen, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Schalke 04.

He eventually won his first two games against SC Freiburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach, although his first defeat, against FC Augsburg, was sandwiched in between those.

That though preceded the current run of results, and although only four of those nine winless games ended, the Wolves were left just one point above Werder Bremen and Schmidt’s former side Mainz, who occupy the relegation play-off spot.

With the prospect of appearing in that play-off as they did last season, he indicated to the club’s board on Monday that he felt it was best that they look for a successor, despite almost holding Bayern again at the weekend before Robert Lewandowski’s late winner.

The club’s statement confirmed his desire to make way to allow them to “improve the current sporting situation with new impulses from the dugout.” The statement added that the club “regrets” his decision, having been hoping to continue with him in charge, however both managing director Dr. Tim Schumacher and sporting director Olaf Rebbe wished him well for the future.

Fifth coach in less than two seasons

After the stability of the years under Dieter Hecking and then-sporting director Klaus Allofs, which saw the club win the DFB-Pokal and finish second in the Bundesliga in the 2014-15 season, before  reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals the following year, they team has undergone a rapid decline.

With the emissions scandal impacting club benefactors Volkswagen, the club was forced to trim back on its playing squad, with key players, most notable Kevin de Bruyne, leaving the club. Both Hecking and Allofs were sacked early last season, replaced respectively by Valérien Ismaël and Rebbe.

Ismaël only lasted four months and 17 matches as head coach, before Jonker was appointed. The Dutchman was unable to make a major impact although did at least ensure their survival after two victories against Eintracht Braunschweig.

Four points from the first four Bundesliga games of this season though was enough for the axe to swing on him, with Schmidt rapidly appointed as his successor. Now he has gone, they go back to the drawing board yet again, as the malice surrounding the club threatens once again to end their two-decade stay in the top flight.

Quotes via VfL Wolfsburg.