Mike Büskens: No pressure, just a chance
The final international break of the season is done and Schalke are now preparing for the run-in in the 2. Bundesliga. With seven games to go, the Royal Blues will be hoping to collect as many points as possible in their bid to return to the top flight. The first of these matches is away at SG Dynamo Dresden on Friday (1/4) at 18:30 CEST. Around 3,000 away fans will be present in Saxony.
“The Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion will be sold out for the first time in more than two years,” said Mike Büskens. “Any footballer that has already played there knows about the atmosphere. The fans will cheer on their team for the whole 90 minutes.” The Schalke head coach believes it’s important that his players keep a cool head. “We have to be calm on the ball and cannot allow ourselves to be influenced by the atmosphere.”
Last season’s 3. Liga champions have failed to build on their decent first half of the season, failing to win any of their last 10 games (D6, L4). That doesn’t mean, however, that this will be an easy game. “We want to be as high up the table as possible by the end of the season and that means we have to perform to our best in every game,” demanded Büskens, who also said that the pressure of a promotion race is just normal. “This is a situation that we wanted – so we’re happy to be in it! I don’t want to talk about pressure. I see it as a chance to achieve something massive together instead,” stressed the interim boss.
The lads are giving everything in training!
Büskens is extremely happy with how hard the players are working at the moment, revealing: “They’re giving everything in training!” This will mean that Büskens and his coaching team – with new assistant Peter Hermann – have some difficult decisions to make on the team. “It’s good to have lots of quality and depth in your squad. This gives you more options for your starting XI”, commented the 54-year-old.
Ouwejan on the right track
Büskens will have Danny Latza and Reinhold Ranftl available again for matchday 28. The duo had been missing recently due to testing positive for Covid-19. Thomas Ouwejan, who has missed the last three league games with muscular problems, is also on the right track according to Büskens.
There’s also good news on Mehmet Can Aydin and Andreas Vindheim. The two wing-backs are back in training after both getting injured in January, though this game will come too soon for them. “They’re both doing well,” reported Büskens, who added that they will step up their workload next week. Büskens won’t have striker Marvin Pieringer at his disposal after he suffered a fractured cheekbone in the 1-0 friendly win over FC Utrecht last week.