Dimitrios Grammozis: We’re really up for it
FC Schalke 04 will begin their new league season with a home game against Hamburger SV on Friday (23/7, 20:30 CEST). “We’ve all been waiting for this moment for almost six weeks of pre-season”, said Dimitrios Grammozis, who is also looking forward to the return of a crowd. “We can finally play in front of our fans at the VELTINS-Arena again.”
19,770 fans are allowed to attend the opening game of 2021/22 at Schalke’s home. All ticket holders over the age of six must provide either proof of a vaccination, proof they have recovered from Covid-19 or a certificate to show they have tested negative. Grammozis wants to provide the fans with a passionate and exciting performance. “We want to play with confidence, be energetic, create chances, and show we’re the home team,” explained S04’s head coach. “Every young boy dreams of playing in front of fans that are right behind them – and our lads will now have this opportunity. Our support will definitely provide us with a little bit of extra motivation,” added the 43-year-old.
We want to play with confidence, be energetic, create chances, and show we’re the home team.
A number of Schalke players will make their competitive debuts tomorrow, as well as their first appearances in the VELTINS-Arena. Grammozis wouldn’t reveal, though, who would start. “All players have been committed during pre-season and the friendlies and have shown they’re well up for the new season.”
Michael Langer to start in goal
The one decision that Grammozis would reveal was who would start in goal against HSV. He announced that Michael Langer will be in between the sticks, with Ralf Fährmann ruled out due to testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week. As a result, the rest of the team has been in a quarantine training camp since Tuesday (20/7). Despite this, the mood in camp has remained positive, according to the boss. “The lads have grown as a group quickly after all the ins and outs. The new signings have integrated already too. Overall, there were a lot of positives to take from pre-season. We just need to build on them now.”
Opponents HSV have also had a successful pre-season, remaining unbeaten just like the Royal Blues. Grammozis watched their last friendly against Basel, which they won 1-0 on Saturday (17/7), live at the Volksparkstadion. He reported: “They’ve developed a new style of playing. They like to play a lot of short passes and aim to get into the final third by playing good football.”
Grammozis is expecting an intense game in Gelsenkirchen, with both teams looking to have a go. “We’re looking forward to this challenge and are raring to go,” stressed the coach. “HSV are a tough opponent and a great one to start the season against. At the same time though, we shouldn’t belittle ourselves. We will respect them, but won’t fear them. We’re going into the season full of positivity after a good and intense pre-season.”