Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Struber
May 12, 2023
There is a certain percentage of the Metro fanbase that has built Gerhard Struber into a boogeyman. All the ills of this season are on him; all the previous successes are despite of him. Alright, "relative" successes.
It has to go without saying, there was no (unqualified) success during the Struber era. Three one-game playoff exits. Barely scraping into the playoffs in 2021, while trumping a fourth-place finish last year. That's success?
Of course, it goes deeper than that. In Struber's first full season, the team was mired in a tailspin in mid-September, with one win in eleven games. (Do those numbers seem familiar?) Somehow, Struber transformed it into a side that somehow scraped by with 1:0 wins. That became the mantra the rest of the season, 1:0, 1:0, 1:0, all the way to a playoff berth. Whatever he did to transform a leaky defense into a solid one, worked.
When 2022 came, the expectations were not that high. On the eve of the season, Struber complained about roster makeup. Kevin Thelwell bailed immediately after, leaving fans with little hope. And yet, somehow Struber won, especially on the road. Somehow, the team made it all the way to the Open Cup semifinals, before one terrible half derailed that campaign. Somehow, despite Struber's supposed awful offensive tactics, Metro still scored 50 goals in the regular season.
So now, 2023, when whatever "somehow" Struber had in him had run its course. Oh, the defense is still strong, allowing a paltry goal per game. But the fact that they can't even score a goal per game was his ultimate undoing. Be it injuries, suspensions, or tactics (and a lot of it is tactics, for Struber clearly sacrificed offense for defense), it just stopped working. After you go six games without scoring until the 89th minute... the writing is on the wall. (It's easy to imagine the writing would have happen sooner if three of those late goals did not turn 0:1 losses into 1:1 ties.)
What gets us the most, however, is Struber's decision that this would be his final year, relayed to the team before the season started. If we were running the club, we would have cut ties at that exact point. Instead, we had to sit through an unbearable stretch to start the season, with Metro in the cellar and Struber dismissed for steering the sinking ship.
Auf Wiedersehen, Herr Struber. Danke Schoen?