Domenico Tedesco shares praise with his team

At 26 minutes past five on Sunday afternoon, when referee Manuel Gräfe blew for full time in the 152nd Revierderby, Domenico Tedesco fell to his knees in jubilation, clenched his fist and punched the ground multiple times. Yet another sign of just how much this job at FC Schalke 04 means to the 32-year-old, which is exactly what the fans love him for.

When the team charged towards the Nordkurve at full time to the share this special moment with the fans, it was Tedesco’s name being chanted by the supporters. Not only that, but they demanded the head coach join them in the stand and celebrate the 2-0 derby victory with them. Tedesco almost looked uncomfortable – he wanted the team to be the centre of attention.

After a minute or so, the boss did indeed decide, after numerous pats on the back from Naldo and Co., to climb onto the Nordkurve’s podium. “I was worried the ultras were going to destroy the stadium if I didn’t,” he joked: “It’s an honour to stand up there in the Nordkurve, the whole team deserved to be.”

“He deserved that moment,” said a visibly pleased Christian Heidel: “Domenico is a bundle of pure emotions and he should indulge those celebrations.” Indeed he should – in fact, Schalke’s professor of football was in his element during the game as well: pacing up and down his technical area, waving his arms around, clapping, intervening here and there with his tactical genius and spurring his team on from the first minute until the last.

“Domenico is a genuine man and he lives for his job. The way he works makes him something of a twelfth player of the pitch,” said sporting director Heidel, praising the 32-year-old head coach: “It’s not as though he’s putting on a show, shouting meaningless stuff at the players. He tries to help the team for the entire 90 minutes and that’s a great feeling for the lads on the pitch. When things aren’t going quite as well, the team knows that there’s a man on the touchline striving for improvement. I can only take my hat off to the man and the work he’s doing.”

The way Domenico Tedesco works makes him something of a twelfth player on the pitch.

Christian Heidel

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that only minutes after his hero’s reception in the Kurve, Tedesco reflected on the game from a sober analytical perspective and concluded that his team had shown a fantastic reaction to the frustrating 3-2 defeat in Hamburg. “I am grateful to all the players for that,” he declared.

Thanks to the three points in the derby and results in other games, Schalke have extended their lead on fifth place to eight points, with four games of the season still outstanding. Nevertheless, Guido Burgstaller has warned against premature talks of Champions League qualification: “This was definitely an important step,” said the Austrian, “but we’ve said all season that we think one game at a time. That attitude has served us extremely well so far, so will not change now.”

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