Christian Gross: We want to shake off our ‘unlucky losers’ tag
Schalke’s decent performance in the DFB-Pokal round of 16 at VfL Wolfsburg wasn’t enough for progression on Wednesday night. Nonetheless, head coach Christian Gross took the positives from the defeat, stressing ahead of the home game against RB Leipzig (6/2, 15:30 CET): “We want to shake off our ‘unlucky losers’ tag and win our games.”
The Swiss coach was pleased with the way his side attacked against Wolfsburg in midweek. “We are playing better,” said Gross, who has quickly turned his attentions to the next game after the 1-0 loss to the Wolves. “We are fully focusing on Leipzig. I’m expecting an intense game. They have a really good side, with goals coming from all over the pitch. As well as that, they’re tight at the back, which is shown by the low amount of goals they’ve let in,” commented the 66-year-old. “They attack and defend as a team and that makes them unpredictable and tough to play against.”
Everyone is doing their best. They all want to play and help us get out of the relegation zone.
Leipzig, who currently sit in second, are beatable though. They lost 3-2 just two weeks ago away against 1. FSV Mainz 05 – the team just one place above Schalke in the table. “Mainz played well and we want to do the same,” said Gross. The boss has been pleased with his side’s application in training recently. “Everyone is doing their best. They all want to play and help us get out of the relegation zone.”
Health authorities to determine Mustafi’s involvement
Schalke will have Benito Raman and Suat Serdar available again for tomorrow’s game. The duo had recently been out with colds – Gross wouldn’t reveal if they would start or not. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s chances of playing are also up in the air after his calf problems: “We will need to do some checks. We can’t take any risks, but I hope that he will at least make the bench,” explained Gross.
According to Gross, Shkodran Mustafi ‘could possibly feature against Leipzig.” The new signing from Arsenal has to quarantine up to and including Friday (5/2) after his arrival from England, with the centre-back limited to just training on his own away from the rest of the team at the training ground. The regular Covid-19 tests on Mustafi have all come back negative. Gross didn’t rule out starting Mustafi, however that is dependent on the health authorities giving the green light first. “Shkodran is very professional,” praised Gross.
The Royal Blues will definitely be without the injured Can Bozdogan, Kilian Ludewig, Goncalo Paciencia, Steven Skrzybski and Salif Sané. Additionally, goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow is out with a groin problem, having originally been in line to play in the DFB-Pokal.