Bastian Oczipka: My teammates in front of me made it easier
Bastian Oczipka had worn the Royal Blue jersey 74 times before Sunday’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt and had played on the left side of Schalke’s defence on each of those 74 occasions. The plan was for him to take up his usual position for his 75th appearance for S04 but after Weston McKennie picked up an early injury, Oczipka joined Ozan Kabak in the centre of defence.
The left-footer last played at centre-back more than two-and-a-half years ago. The last time he was used in this position was for Eintracht Frankfurt. “It worked well. We prevented a lot of dangerous situations with some good defending in midfield and we pressed well. The guys in front of me made it a lot easier,” says Oczipka, full of praise for his teammates after the hard-fought 1-0 win against his former club.
In control even with a man down
The Royals Blues’ defence was stretched even further after Alexander Nübel’s red card but Oczipka and Co. still managed to limit the opposition’s chances. “Frankfurt put us under a lot of pressure after the sending-off and tested us with a lot of crosses. Overall, we dealt with it well,” explains the 30-year-old.
Winning with one less player is a great feeling!
The boys in blue will be happy that they were back to winning ways against Eintracht and pleased to have reacted to the Bayer Leverkusen defeat eight days earlier with a positive result. Moreover, the team didn’t let their heads drop after suffering several injury setbacks. “Ahmed Kutucu was ruled out in the morning, Weston McKennie got injured early on. Then I moved to centre-back and Juan Miranda played at left-back for the first time for us. It wasn’t easy,” emphasises Oczipka, who, like every Schalke player, also knows that the three points are the most important thing at the end of the day. Oczipka: “Winning with one less player is a great feeling!”