Schalke 04 Head of esports Liq on Krepo as a Coach: “He leads by example and has very high work ethics.”

After it was announced that both former Splyce manager Hans Christian “Liq” Dürr and Mitch “Krepo” Voorspoels have officially joined Schalke 04 esports, we talked with Liq, Schalke’s new head of esports, about his time at Splyce, what Krepo is like as a coach and what the future will hold for Schalke fans. Enjoy!

Hi Hans, thank you very much for taking your time to answer our questions! Before we talk about your exciting future at Schalke 04, let’s talk a bit about your history at Splyce. You’ve spent more than a year at the organization, saw the team go to Worlds last year. What are your favorite memories from your time at Splyce?

Winning the Gauntlet last year as well as playing the Summer Split 2016 Finals in Krakow are definitely two moments to be remembered. Working with the team and seeing their progress especially last year, being on the road with them for over a month traveling to places like Seoul and North America and working closely with the players will be something I won’t forget.

Is there anything about Splyce you’re going to miss in particular?

Saying farewell to the players, not knowing if you will ever be working with them again is always tough as I try to build a close but professional relationship with the teams I lead.

As it turns out, the former mysterious Splyce coach “Boris” ended up being Krepo. How did you get Krepo to coach Splyce?

When the first challenges within our coaching structure surfaced and I felt a change was necessary, I thought about getting in touch with Mitch as I could imagine that he would be a good potential coach, however, I decided to wait as he was taking a break from League. Mitch got in touch with Splyce soon after and we agreed to work with him in the League gaming house in Berlin.

What is Krepo like as a coach?

Mitch combines several aspects that I want to see in a Head Coach: His knowledge of professional League of Legends is very high. He understands the needs of professional players as he has been in their shoes. He is an empathic person and can speak their language; empathy is very important when working with pro players and lack thereof a reason why I have seen people fail in different staff roles throughout the years. Furthermore, he leads by example and has very high work ethics. Given the short time we had, I was amazed by the progress we made with him as a coach and received very positive feedback on his work from the players, backing up my observations.

Moving to Schalke must’ve been a big decision. What do you personally associate with the club?

FC Schalke 04 has very loyal fans who follow the club through good and quite tough times. The atmosphere at the Veltins Arena during a Schalke match is very unique. I associate tolerance, respect as well as honest and hard work with the club. Schalke has a very open culture, whenever the football team is doing public training, any fan can watch them play and ask them questions. The fans-first attitude is something I have pushed in previous roles and one of many guiding principles we will carry over to the esports department as well.

Will you lead Schalke to their very first local Championship?

I will give the team all the tools to succeed, though every victory and every defeat will be the result of a team effort and neither my nor anyone else’s sole achievement. Winning a split is definitely a goal at some point! The management and coaching staff aims to create an environment where our players are in the best spot to succeed.

The Schalke roster is not finalized as of now, with only the German ADC Upset being a guaranteed Schalke player for the upcoming split. However, loads of pictures of him and Nukeduck have emerged on twitter – can we expect Nukeduck to join Schalke? Or could you at least give us some hints on the upcoming signings?

Nukeduck is a very talented player and it seems that he and Upset get along quite well, though that shouldn’t be an indicator whether we do or do not consider to sign Nukeduck. It is too early right now to publicly talk about a potential roster. For us, it is extremely important that the players we are going to sign buy into our philosophy of a value-driven team culture, on how we want to run the team and how we want to approach the upcoming season. We are looking for players who are eager and hungry to win, who want to learn and challenge themselves and their teammates every day. They have to be willing to expand their comfort zone as we emphasize the importance of mental and physical fitness.

Furthermore, we have laid a very solid foundation with hiring Mitch as Head Coach and will be looking to hire an additional experienced LCS-level coach to make sure we can offer our players to work with the strongest League of Legends coaching staff to be able to play on the highest level.

Finally, is there anything you’d like to say to the Schalke fans?

We will keep and maintain a transparent and open culture and, just like the club practices it in their football department, are going to be as close to our fans as possible as our craft would not exist without the large fanbase following esports. I am looking forward to seeing a lot of fans in royal blue following our journey!

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Darius Matuschak

Darius is an esports journalist trying to nurture esports culture whenever possible. He got into esports while finishing his Bachelor in Journalism, and has been a regular EU LCS attendee since January 2017.

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