Karel Geraerts: I want to see that after this game too

FC Schalke 04 are looking to overtake Hansa Rostock in the table as the sides do battle on Sunday (10th December, 13:30 CET). The recent home win over VfL Osnabrück has given the team additional strength and confidence going into this game. “We scored four goals without conceding. That’s done us good,” says Karel Geraerts. “I saw a lot of happy faces after the final whistle. I want to see that after this game too.”

The Royal Blues’ head coach expects a hard-fought encounter against the fifteenth-placed side, in which neither team will want to give anything away. “Personally, I’ve never been to Rostock. But I know that there’s always an intense atmosphere at the Ostseestadion. We’re prepared for that,” says the Belgian, who has studied the opponent extensively. “Rostock have a lot of good players in their ranks, especially in midfield and attack,” notes Geraerts, who was impressed by Hansa’s performance at Karlsruher SC last time out. The match finished 2-2, with FCH having been ahead until just before the end.

Tactically flexible

It is not yet certain which formation the coach will go with for the showdown with Rostock. “We have a lot of options,” explains the 41-year-old. Against Osnabrück, Schalke lined up with a back four, having started with a back three in previous weeks – which sometimes changed over the course of 90 minutes. In the words of Geraerts: “It’s good to see that the team can play in more than one formation. We’re flexible and can make adjustments during the game if necessary.”

According to Geraerts, the mindset is a lot more important than the system anyway – and he’s sensed the will to win that the coach always demands in the training sessions so far this week. “The team is hungry for success. You want that as a coach.”

Ouwejan back in the team and Müller out on the pitch again

The starting eleven for the game in the Ostseestadion is yet to be chosen, says the Belgian, because “there are still two days of training ahead of us. Everyone has an opportunity to put themselves in contention.” That also applies to Thomas Ouwejan, who is part of the team again after his time temporarily training with the U23s.

Marius Müller is also back on the training pitch. The goalkeeper, who picked up a ruptured adductor tendon in the home game against 1. FC Magdeburg in the middle of September, is completing his first exercises with the ball as part of his recovery programme. “He’s on a good path,” reports Geraerts. The netminder will now begin to steadily increase his workload.

Like last week, the Royal Blues will be missing Dominick Drexler (muscle strain), Leo Greiml (ACL tear), Yusuf Kabadayi and Danny Latza (both muscle strains) and Assan Ouedraogo (syndesmosis tear).