Tim Reichert: Change is necessary

FC Schalke 04 Esports finished the Spring Split of the EU LCS in eighth place. After a bitter 0-2 defeat by H2K (16.3.) and Fnatic (17.3.) it became clear: The royal blues would not enter the playoffs. Tim Reichert, S04's Chief Gaming Officer, summarizes and outlines the challenges ahead.

Mr. Reichert, the Spring Split 2018 is over. The team of FC Schalke 04 Esports has finished the season in eighth place. What is your personal conclusion?
We want to reflect on the past season in all objectivity – looking at the positives as well as negatives. The season was characterized by constant ups and downs: good, sometimes even very good performances were followed by games in which we simply did not live up to our aspiration. This lack of consistency ultimately cost us a higher ranking and therefore also the playoffs. However, we must not forget, that we were successful in many ways as well.

What can you take from the last split?
Our pre-season preparation went very well. The bootcamp in Gelsenkirchen was a success. The players felt very connected to the club and initial practice went great. Even during the season practice generally went well with high level gameplay. Naturally the expectations that followed for the season were set high. However, we did not succeed in transferring this positive trend to the EU LCS stage. We noticed that certain processes and developments took longer to accomplish than we initially expected. In particular the very structured and tight weekly schedule was unusual for some of our players. We started on a rather sour note with Elias “Upset” Lipp essentially missing the first two weeks of play and practice. We did not succeed in transforming the abilities of each player into a consistent team effort. Nonetheless, we have laid the foundation for a successful Summer Split with this Spring Split. Players and coaches know now what’s expected of them and will use the experience of the past season to prepare for the upcoming one. On stage synergies, positive mentality and leadership within the team – those are the points on which we will work intensively with the team in the off-season.

After the Summer Split 2017 we optimized many processes and structures. We have evolved in many ways and improved on many fronts, i.e. in the external presentation. We strive to continue learning every single split. In addition, we have successfully built up a well-functioning infrastructure in Berlin. It is important to us to look after and develop the players outside of the game. With Fabian Broich, we have an sports psychologist at our side, who has supported the team in the last two weeks of the split as Performance Manager. His work with the team had an immediate impact and I expect a lot of added value here – for both the players and the coaching staff, especially in regard to the integration of sports and healthy eating. Together with the entire team, Fabian will tackle various topics – sometimes in group and sometimes in one-on-one talks. which might revolve around dealing with pressure to perform, individual goals and role allocation within the team, as we have seen major challenges, especially in this area. We will continue to focus on providing players with a professional work environment so they can succeed. Our players should be able to concentrate fully on the sporting success.

You have already talked about the employment of Fabian Broich. Will there be further changes regarding the personnel?
We will make a change in a position within our player’s roster. During the split, we found that despite extensive training, there was no synergy between certain individual positions and if we want to see a change in Summer, we had to act. We are still convinced of our players in terms of individual talent, however there was something missing in the bigger picture. The coaching staff has thus deemed it necessary for a change to be made. I am sure that the planned change brings us to the level we had hoped for the Spring Split. The guys are all extremely ambitious and want to show that they are capable of doing more than they showed in the first split. In addition, Hans Christian Dürr will leave FC Schalke 04 Esports. I would like to point out that the outcome of this split is not the reason for the seperation. We wish Hans all the best on his future journey.

What are your plans for the Summer Split 2018?
We will prepare very intensively for the following season. I am convinced that, as in the past year, we will be more successful in the Summer Split. It gives the whole club pleasure to see our team in royal blue on stage of the EU LCS and we are already looking forward to the upcoming season. Last but not least, I would like to thank our fans for their active support – just as we know it from Schalke for many years.