Bayer Leverkusen CEO Michael Schade has backed Sami Hyypia following five straight defeats in the Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup.
Hyypia’s team had sat on top of the rest of the league (barring Bayern Munich) since matchday 13, yet four defeats in their first six league games of 2014 have allowed Borussia Dortmund to overtake Leverkusen in second place.
Following a 1-0 home defeat to Mainz last Saturday, the "result machine", as Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp put it in late 2013, is out of service, and Leverkusen could drop outside the Champions League qualifying places in the next couple of weeks.
Leverkusen travel to Hannover this weekend with Die Roten having collected six of their seven wins this season at home, and the week after that Hyypia’s men face an uphill task at Bayern.
Between Hannover and Munich, Leverkusen travel to Paris to, in all probability, wave goodbye to their Champions League season following their 4-0 defeat in the home leg against PSG.
Given Bayer’s current form, it could be Leverkusen’s last Champions League game for a long time -- but Schade refused to put pressure on the players or Hyypia, and insists that qualifying for the Europa League would still be a success.
"Europa League is no failure for us, that's achievement of objectives," Leverkusen CEO Michael Schade told Rheinische Post. "We'd still be disappointed to miss out on Champions League, because it looked good for a long, long time.
"If there is someone preparing for games 120 percent it is Sami Hyypia. He can be assured of the trust of those responsible.
"Noone suffers more than him right now. I can't and I will not believe that during a time span of three weeks everything that was right before now is wrong."
Against Hannover Schade wants the club "to get the optimum" and "most of all play a good match," though the Leverkusen CEO has already written off the games against PSG and Bayern.
"We will not get out on top against Paris, everyone will agree on that. And in Munich we want to give a good account of ourselves."
After those games Leverkusen will then, according to Schade, "only play finals" until the end of the season.
While several German papers speculated that Leverkusen’s dressing room is split into at least two groups, Leverkusen’s South Korea international Heung-Min Son believes most of the current problems can be put down on a lack of ease on the pitch.
"We had several chances against Mainz, but we had no luck," Son told Bild about the defeat to Mainz. "We didn't exactly have a nice time on the pitch."