Schalke replaces coach Keller with Di Matteo
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Schalke fired coach Jens Keller on Tuesday and replaced him with former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo.
Di Matteo signed a three-year contract.
Keller was dismissed after Schalke picked up only eight points in seven Bundesliga games. It is 11th in the 18-team league.
The team lost 2-1 to Hoffenheim on Saturday, and has already been knocked out of the German Cup by third-division club Dynamo Dresden.
Keller had been Schalke’s coach since December 2012, and took the club twice into the Champions League, but has faced near-constant speculation over his position.
“The necessary consistency is missing in efforts to reach our set goals,” Schalke general manager Horst Heldt said. “That’s why we decided to take the step.
“We believe firmly that Roberto Di Matteo will bring stability to the team and will succeed in reaching our goals in the Bundesliga and the Champions League.”
Schalke was eliminated in the first knockout round in the past two seasons in the Champions League.
Di Matteo, a former Italy midfielder, led Chelsea to an unexpected Champions League title in 2012, but his reign as manager lasted less than a year. He was fired early in the following season with the club’s defense of the European trophy in tatters.
Born in Switzerland, Di Matteo played for Swiss clubs before moving to Lazio in Rome and later to Chelsea.
His coaching career started with Milton Keynes Dons and continued at West Bromwich Albion before he joined Chelsea, first as an assistant in 2011.
Keller is already the second coach to lose his job seven matches into the season, after Hamburg’s Mirko Slomka.