Alessandro Schöpf: I'm so happy to be back
In addition to the convincing Schalke performance that resulted in a deserved 3-0 home victory against Hertha Berlin last Saturday, there was another highlight of the match. For seven months, the midfielder has been forced to wait for an appearance with the first team after he had injured his knee in Janurary, but in the 88th minute, Alessandro Schöpf returned.
“For me personally it was a highlight that I was allowed to come back and play. I’m delighted”, beams the Austrian after making his return to the first team. In the past couple of weeks the 25-year-old made two appearances for the Under-23s in the Regionalliga West to get some match fitness in.
A chance to score in added time
Having finally returned after a long absence, he didn’t have to wait long for a chance to score against Hertha. In added time, Schöpf found space in the opposition penalty area and forced a save from Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein. “The shot took all my energy out of me,” said Schöpf with a smile on his face. “I’d done one or two sprints before, but I was really out of breath.”
Training at Schalke instead of with the Austria national team
The 25-year-old now has some time before the next Bundesliga game to continue working on his fitness. The Royal Blues are back playing in the Bundesliga on 15th September, away at Paderborn. Until then, there are two European Championship qualifiers with the Austria national team. However, Schöpf and Austria head coach Franco Foda came to the conclusion that it would be better if he stayed at Schalke and trained here.
In addition, the midfielder may get more match practice by playing in the friendly match against Viktoria Köln on Friday (6th September, 18:00 CEST). “I would like to get some more playing time under my belt, maybe even longer than 90 minutes,” said Schöpf ahead of the game against the third division side, which will be played in the Bottroper Jahnstadion.
I really liked what I saw. We played good football.
Schöpf believes that the 3-0 win against Hertha Berlin was deserved. “I really liked what I saw. We played good football”, said the 25-year-old who was also pleased that Hertha defender Karim Rekik applauded his return to the pitch. Rekik was responsible for Schöpf’s injury layoff after a bad foul in Schalke’s January away game at Hertha last season. “I’m forgiving anyway. It’s water under the bridge,” said Schöpf, who was instead concerned with another matter: that in the future he will have to travel to international games without Guido Burgstaller, who has called time on his international career. “I will definitely miss Burgi in the national team,” he emphasises, saying that Burgstaller is a great guy who he gets on well with. Schöpf went on to say, “I told him he should think twice about resigning from the national team. But I can also understand the reasons behind his decision.”