Rouven Schröder on preparations in Gelsenkirchen, Corona and the squad situation

The Royal Blues began preparations for the second half of the season on Sunday (2.1.). They will lay the groundwork for the rest of the season in Gelsenkirchen rather than Belek. Sporting director Rouven Schröder lamented the cancelation of their training camp in Turkey due to the current Coronavirus situation, but he doesn’t see it as a disadvantage for the coming months.

Rouven Schröder

“The decision was not made overnight,” said the 46-year-old, stating that there had been many conversations with Peter Knäbel and team doctor Dr. Patrick Ingelfinger in which various options were explored. Due to a rise in cases and the worsening of the overall Coronavirus situation, the collective decision was taken not to travel and instead make preparations for their remaining games of the season at Berger Feld. “The most important thing is to prepare well and that as many players as possible are fit to play against Kiel,” said Schröder. “The clubs who have the most healthy players available to them increase their chances of success,” the Schalke sporting director continued, saving special praise for Dr. Ingelfinger who has worked “day and night” gathering information so that the best possible decision could be made for the team and the club.

In order to reduce the risk of infection, the club have increased safety measures again. Various changing rooms are at the team’s disposal, and team meals and large meetings will not take place for the moment.

“A tight-knit group”

Schröder went on to say that the fact that the players are preparing for the final 16 games of the season in their usual environment has not dampened the mood within the camp. The sporting director emphasised that the team is a “tight-knit group”. “That is worth a lot,” he said, pleased that even players who were not regulars in the first period of the season are increasing competition for places through their performances in training.

If we feel that it is exactly the right player for the right position then we will look to make a move.

Rouven Schröder

Schröder explained that a lot of thought has been given to the current squad situation. “The success of the team is the most important thing,” said the former Bundesliga player, so it is crucial to think carefully about who comes into the team. “We will explore all of our options. If we feel that it is exactly the right player for the right position then we will look to make a move,” said Schröder, insisting at the same time that they will not let themselves be put under pressure.

Latza and Drexler working to get back to fitness

Alongside any potential arrivals, the possibility of players leaving the club also remains. “When an offer from outside comes in, it is always possible that someone might say that they want a new challenge elsewhere,” said Schröder, who is positive about the options available to the manager. “When everyone is fit, we have a squad that can be really competitive.”

Working hard on returns to fitness are Danny Latza and Dominick Drexler, who were hampered by injuries before the winter break. “Danny and Dominick have been training with a lot of intensity, running a lot, doing sprints and more dynamic runs as well,” reported Schröder. “You can see how much they want to be back in action.”

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