Karel Geraerts: The perfect ingredients for a fun football match

The last period of the first half of the season begins for FC Schalke 04 with a clash against another side from the West; the Royal Blues will face Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday (25/11) at 20:30 CET in this week’s Bundesliga 2 blockbuster clash and they’ll have a lot of travelling fans in support. “A sold-out stadium under floodlights, a great setting and it’s not far away – those are the perfect ingredients for a fun football match. I can barely wait for kick-off,” said Karel Geraerts, following the last international break of the calendar year.

The Royal Blues used the fortnight-long break from league football to make progress both physically and in terms of their play. As well as playing two friendlies without conceding (2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven, 0-0 draw against Patro Eisden Maasmachelen), the coaching staff also conducted a fitness test in addition to various other sessions, the results and findings of which will be incorporated into further training management. The 41-year-old was satisfied with the results. “The team is making further progress,” explained Geraerts.

“The players always training hard to improve and that has to be what everyone demands from themselves, regardless of what the table looks like. It doesn’t matter whether you’re high or low in the standings, you’ve always got to want to improve,” explained the coach, who, after winning two games on the bounce with his team (3-2 against Hannover and 2-1 in Nuremberg), suffered defeat in the last game before the international break. We’ve discussed the 2-1 loss to SV Elversberg in detail, commented Geraerts. After that, the focus quickly turned to the next games because, unfortunately, we can’t influence the past.

Respect for the opposition, but also a clear goal

By contrast, the result of the upcoming game in Düsseldorf lies in the Royal Blues’ hands. The coach stated that it’s important “that we’re wide awake from the very first seconds. When the referee blows his whistle, we need to be ready and show that we want to put in a good performance.”

When the referee blows his whistle, we need to be ready and show that we want to put in a good performance.

Karel Geraerts

The Belgian is aware that the opposition has a role to play. Nevertheless, he emphasised that his team primarily looks at how they themselves can influence the game in their favour. Geraerts believes that his side are well prepared to deal with Fortuna’s strengths and weaknesses. Düsseldorf, who are currently fifth in the league, have been missing players recently and have lost twice in a row (3-1 loss against SV Wehen Wiesbaden, 1-0 loss to SpVgg Greuther Fürth). “As of late, Daniel Thioune hasn’t been able select several important players due to injury, but some of them are back fit now,” stated Schalke’s head coach.

Brunner, Seguin and Fährmann are back

Cedric Brunner and Paul Seguin made their comebacks in the two friendlies during the international break after having missed several games in row recently. Brunner played for an hour against Patro Eisden Maasmachelen. However, the coach explained that the right-footer isn’t an option for the starting eleven in Düsseldorf following his recovery from groin problems. “That would be a bit soon after a long break.” The Swiss player has missed the last six competitive games.Seguin was on the pitch for 78 minutes in Eindhoven. Geraerts said that the midfielder, who has been ill multiple times in the last few weeks, has trained well recently. “There’s no doubt that Paul is a good footballer. Like any other player, he has the chance to press his case for playing time in training. It’s in his hands,” the coach explained.

Ralf Fährmann is also back available. The goalkeeper felt something in his upper leg following the warm-up ahead of the game against SV Elversberg and had to be withdrawn at short notice. Geraerts: “Ralle is fully involved in training once again and he’s back at 100 percent.”

The Royal Blues will not only have to do without the long-term absentees Leo Greiml (ACL tear) and Marius Müller (ruptured adductor tendon), but also Assan Ouédraogo, who has torn a syndesmosis ligament at the U-17 World Cup in Indonesia, as well as Danny Latza. The midfielder is struggling with calf problems.