FC Schalke 04 have made key decisions for the future and filled two vacant positions within the sporting management of the club. Rouven Schröder will take over as sporting director as of July 1, and will be responsible for first-team squad planning, scouting and staffing the departments, among other things. Mathias Schober will become the new director of development and the Knappenschmiede with immediate effect, and will have overall responsibility for the academy in this role.
With these decisions, the club has continued the previously announced restructuring of its sporting management team. “The supervisory board and the board are in agreement that the many sporting tasks cannot be shouldered by just one person, and that we need additional expertise,” said Peter Knäbel, board member for sport and communication.
In the search for a new sporting director, the focus quickly turned to Rouven Schröder. The selection committee of the supervisory board, led by Dr. Jens Buchta, had already been in intense discussions with Schröder in the recent past. Along with Peter Knäbel they convinced Rouven Schröder to join Schalke – with the clear goal of leading the club back to a successful future.
To do so, Knäbel said that Schalke will have to overcome some tough challenges following the now-confirmed relegation from the Bundesliga. “We’ve managed to bring an expert to Schalke in Rouven. He possesses the necessary contacts as well as the expertise in his area. His main task will be to build a new team that can represent Schalke 04 successfully both now and in the future.”
As a player, Rouven Schröder spent a large part of his career with VfL Bochum. Overall, the 45-year-old made eight Bundesliga appearances as well as 48 in the second division. After his playing career he began working as a video analyst and scout for 1.FC Nürnberg, before taking on the sporting director role at Greuther Fürth and then Werder Bremen. The man from Arnsberg was most recently on the board at 1.FSV Mainz 05.
Schalke’s sporting leadership is completed by Mathias Schober, who will be promoted to director of the Knappenschmiede academy and development. “Mathias has done an outstanding job as the sporting director of our youth department over the past few years and has played a big part in attracting talented youngsters to the club,” explained Knäbel, who himself was responsible for the strategic direction of the Knappenschmiede until the end of March. “We agreed early on that Mathias should stay at the academy. It’s extremely important to him that we continue to progress with the development of young players. After all, the Knappenschmiede is more important than ever in these times. I’m convinced that in Rouven Schröder and Mathias Schober, we have two people who will successfully drive the club’s new sporting direction forward together.”
Mathias Schober has been a Royal Blue since childhood. Born in Marl, he joined S04 in 1991 as a 15-year-old and progressed through all the youth teams, making the leap to the professional game in 1994. Three years later, the goalkeeper was part of the legendary ‘Eurofighters’ team that won the UEFA Cup, beating Inter Milan in the final. After a one-year loan to Hamburger SV and a six-year stint with Hansa Rostock, Schober returned home in the summer of 2007 and ended his career at Schalke in 2012. Following his retirement from football, the now 45-year-old joined the Knappenschmiede, where he most recently served as sporting director. Schober successfully completed a course in sports management while still a professional footballer.