Christian Gross: Being compact and becoming more efficient
Christian Gross is set to make his home debut as head coach of FC Schalke 04. On Saturday (9/1), his side will host TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the VELTINS-Arena. Sead Kolasinac will be included in a matchday squad for the first time since his return, and has so far made a positive impression on Gross.
“He’s a big personality, and we need someone like that within the team,” Gross said about Kolasinac, who has returned on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season. According to Gross, Kolasinac knows how to handle pressure and added that the 27-year-old “Is someone who can build up players who might be in a slump and can motivate them.”
While Kolasinac is set to make his first appearance in Royal Blue in over three and a half years, Nassim Boujellab and Steven Skrzybski will not feature against Hoffenheim. Salif Sané and Omar Mascarell are both doubts for the weekend, while Benito Raman could return under Gross. As he did last weekend, Ralf Fährmann will start in goal. At the same time, Gross revealed that Frederik Rönnow will start against VfL Wolfsburg in the DFB-Pokal round of 16 in early February.
Confidence and courageous decision-making the keys for success
In order to pick up three points against Hoffenheim, Gross is looking for his side to avoid individual errors and to work on staying compact in order to prevent their opponents from creating chances for themselves. The team will also need to be much more efficient in front of goal. “We need to find our way into those dangerous areas in front of goal,” Gross said, who called the penalty boxes the “key areas” on the pitch, as most goals are scored there.
Gross is also looking to boost the team by making confident and courageous decisions during training. “During training I show the midfielders how they can move the game forward and how they shouldn’t play it too safe in the build-up. There are areas on the pitch in which we can play with more courage,” the 66-year-old said.
We will need to do everything we can so that our fans can finally have something to celebrate. That’s what we’re working towards.
This weekend, Gross is hoping that his team will finally pick up the win that they’ve long been hoping for. “When the team is winning, that has an impact on the club,” said Gross. “We will need to do everything we can so that our fans can finally have something to celebrate. That’s what we’re working towards.”