The lads are once again on the lookout for a new manager after sacking Jack Ross following a poor start to the season, with a two-goal loss to Lincoln City ultimately putting the nail in the coffin for Jack Ross' departure from Wearside.
One of the first names linked with the manager's role is ex Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel. The German guided the Tykes to League One promotion last season at the first time of asking, and he did so playing an attacking style that focused on passing the ball and moving forward, rather than being a physical outfit with a direct approach that is commonly adopted by teams in this league.
But who is Stendel? What is his footballing background? And does he have the credentials to take on one of the most demanding jobs in League One?
Daniel Stendel was born in Frankfurt an der Oder in 1974. He was brought up in what was then named as East Germany under the control of the Soviets until German reunification in 1990. On talking about growing up in East Germany, Stendel stated: “It was a picture which did not have much colour,” but admitted he had a relatively good upbringing.
His football career started when he signed for local football club Frankfurter FC Victoria, before joining one-time German footballing giants Hamburg. Playing regularly for Hamburg’s B team. From 1994-1997 Stendel made a total of 77 league appearances for Hamburg’s B team scoring 35 goals. Unfortunately for Stendel, he struggled to make an impression for the first team, and only managed to make seven appearances in three years at the club, not scoring any league goals. After leaving Hamburg, Stendel joined FC Gutersloh, which are based in North-Rhine-Westphalia where he played alongside former Huddersfield boss David Wagner.
In 1999, after just a year at FC Gutersloh, Stendel signed for Hannover 96, a club where he would spend the next seven years. Stendel scored a total of forty-three league goals in the seven years he spent at Hannover, and played with former Arsenal and Werder Bremen centre-back Per Mertesacker whilst at the club.
He then finished his career with brief stints at FC St Pauli and Hannover's B team. The German finished his career with a total of three hundred and sixty-three appearances, scoring one hundred and two goals.
After a playing career that lasted fourteen years, Stendel moved into coaching. He made his way up the ranks of Hannover by coaching their youth teams and eventually coaching their under nineteen side.
Towards the end of the 2015-1016 season, Stendel was thrown in at the deep end and was announced as Hannover's head coach on the April 3, 2016. Hannover were pretty much relegated by this point, but what was striking, is the way he took charge of a young team and got them playing a more attacking style of football. On the day of the season, Hannover came up against the best team in Germany. Their final game was against Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich, a match where Stendel and Hannover already knew they had been relegated from the Bundesliga.
However, Stendel received praise for Hannover’s performance from Guardiola, who said: “With this style, and with this young team, we will have a lot of success in the future and will come back to the Bundesliga." Stendel also said about the performance, "It was not so easy, we were already relegated and Bayern were the champions. But we played on the front [foot] and attacked. Bayern had world-class players in the team, but I don't like to be passive. I said: ‘OK, when we lose, we lose, but I want to try and win.' In the end, we lost 3-1."
After just under a year at Hannover, they sacked him. Hannover finished the season second in Bundesliga 2, and Stendel finished with a record of P34, W17, D9, L8 and a win percentage of 50%.
On June 6 2018, Barnsley announced that they had appointed Stendel after being relegated from the Championship and sacking the previous boss Jose Morais.
Stendel spent the rest of the summer acclimatizing to his new surroundings. He spent the summer watching England World Cup matches in Barnsley pubs like The Garrison. In an interview with the Guardian, Stendel stated: “It was a good start for me once Germany were out (of the World Cup), I wore my England shirt that I bought here, it was a really good experience with the people of Barnsley.”
Stendel said before the 2018-2019 campaign that: "It doesn't matter what team we are playing we play our style, we play forward, active and we want to win the game. I like emotions and a lot of team spirit." Stendel's Barnsley soon became one of League One's best sides and started challenging at the top of the league playing an attacking-minded game with a total football approach. He worked on a slimline budget considering the amount of money we were spending (£4m on Will Grigg).
Barnsley gave us a run for our money in both games they played against us, coming to the Stadium of Light early on in the season and scoring two goals, but leaving empty-handed after a 4-2 win by Ross' men. Then, by the time both teams met again, we had been struggling since the turn of the year and were held to a goalless draw by the Tykes at Oakwell. Barnsley ended up finishing second and gaining automatic promotion, whilst we all know how the season ended up for us
Barnsley ended up winning twenty-six league games and only losing seven times.
After an impressive season in League One, Stendel was unlucky to lose key players from the side that won promotion. Players like Centre-back Ethan Pinnock was sold to Brentford, star striker Kieffer Moore was sold to Wigan, and centre-back Liam Lindsay was sold to Stoke.
Stendel wasn’t given much to spend in the summer, and the loss of key players told as he was sacked on October 8 after now wins since the opening day win against Fulham at Oakwell.
After researching Stendel, and seeing his history, I believe has all the credentials to succeed Jack Ross as manager. He has built up a reputation as a coach that goes out of his way to build up a positive relationship with the fans, most of us have seen the photos of him downing shots at his leaving do held by Barnsley fans.
He has experience in managing a squad of young players, building a positive atmosphere which is much needed at Sunderland at the minute. He also has experience working under a small budget, but would almost certainly have a bigger one to work with at us. What's best is he does all of this whilst playing attacking, attractive football, with passing being a big part of his team's style. Out of all the names mentioned, I believe if we have a chance to pull off appointing Stendel then we should do so ASAP.