Schalke sack Huub Stevens; U-17 manager Jens Keller appointed until season's end

Christof Koepsel

After Saturday's 3-1 loss at home to Freiburg, Schalke decided to part ways with manager Huub Stevens.

After an awful run of form of zero wins in their last six matches, Schalke 04 have parted ways with manager Huub Stevens. He will be replaced by the club's U-17 coach Jens Keller for the remainder of the season.

Stevens, 59, was in his second stint as manager of Schalke having previously been at the club in 1996 - 2002 when he won the UEFA Cup and two DFB Pokal titles. Stevens returned to the club in November 2011 when then-manager Ralf Rangnick was diagnosed with acute fatigue syndrome and had to resign immediately. Under Stevens leadership last season, the club finished third in the table and qualified for the Champions League.

At Sunday's press conference, sporting director Horst Heldt spoke fondly of Stevens:

"Anyone who knows Huub knows that he's always open and honest, so I don't believe he was putting on a show at our meeting. After the game and especially overnight he gave the situation a lot of thought himself. Huub's very sorry about the way things have developed and he wishes the team all the best for the future."

Keller, 42, was named the head coach of the U-17s this summer. He previously spent two months as the head coach of Stuttgart in the fall of 2010. Keller's first match in charge will be on Tuesday against Mainz in the third round of the DFB Pokal. The club will then heads off for the month long winter break. Keller spoke to the media on Sunday:

"The players gave me a positive reception and I could tell they were totally focused on the cup game. Though I've watched the first team train on a regular basis, looking on from a distance is not the same as being in charge yourself. I'm now going to spend time considering how best to approach the game against Mainz. If we are to do well the psychological side of things will be very important."

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