David Wagner: We can’t wait for the derby to start!
It’s happening: The 95th Bundesliga Revierderby between Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund will take place on Saturday (26.10, 15:30 CEST). Even head coach David Wagner can barely wait for the game to start.
“I am extremely excited for it,” the 48-year-old reveals at the press conference ahead of the game against BVB, adding: “I am just as happy as everyone else for the game. We can’t wait for the derby to start!”
The only question mark is whether or not Weston Mckennie will play. The American was out with muscular problems for the 2-0 Bundesliga defeat to TSG Hoffenheim last Saturday. It all comes down to the final Friday training session, Wagner said. Suat Serdar, who was also missing in Sinsheim, has overcome his muscular problems and is fit for the game against the black and yellow neighbours.
Focus on the basics
Day by day, not only around the VELTINS-Arena, excitement and anticipation in the run-up to the big game against Dortmund are increasing. Wagner, who is going into his first Revierderby as a coach, emphasises the importance of the fixture, that the team should “focus on the essentials and trying to free themselves from the emotions that we released at the beginning of the week.” Passion is incredibly important in such a game, but it is just as important to focus on important aspects such as possession and defending.
Wagner almost exclusively uses praise for his opponent. “Talking about Dortmund’s strengths takes a relatively long time and talking about their weaknesses takes a relatively short time,” says the Royal Blues’ coach. “Their attackers are top class, not only in the Bundesliga. On the defensive side, they have a tremendous amount of experience mixed with quality and talent,” he continues.
The derby is independent of everything that has happened in the days and weeks prior to it.
The fact that Lucien Favre’s Dortmund side had a small blip in their form before their 1-0 win against Borussia Mönchengladbach is inconsequential to Wagner, because: “The derby is independent of everything that has happened in the days and weeks prior to it.” Wagner feels particularly confident for the upcoming task. “Schalke are a difficult opponent for Dortmund, so it’ll be unpleasant for them to come here and play us.”
Wagner: We are on the right path, but still have a lot to do
Wagner sees his team as being on the right track, but still have work to be done. “I think we’ve had a lot of brave moments going forward. We’ve not only looked to win possession back, but also controlled the game.” Wagner looked back on achievements from past games. “Seeing where we’ve come from, we can agree that we’re on the right path, but we also know that there is still a lot to do,” adds the Schalke coach.
Wagner further emphasises that he wants more goals from the offensive players in the upcoming games. “We can definitely get a few more goals in that area,” says Wagner. “It’s great that the players in the other areas of the team have compensated for that. That’s how it must be, because our offensive players also compensate for tactical mistakes that happen behind them.”