David Wagner: A competitive struggle of the highest order
Five days after the 5-1 victory over SC Paderborn 07, the next Bundesliga challenge challenge awaits the Royal Blues as they welcome 1. FSV Mainz to the VELTINS-Arena this coming Friday evening. Head coach David Wagner spoke ahead of what will be “a big challenge” that the team are “really excited for.”
“We have the utmost respect for Mainz but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re out to win this game,” said the 47-year-old as he laid out the aims for the game. For the points to stay here in Gelsenkirchen, we will also need a big lift from the fans. “We have to create a special atmosphere in the stadium to really raise our chances of winning this game,” said Wagner. A simple recipe: if everyone makes an effort to support the team, in turn the team will feed off that and make an effort on the pitch.
Performance just as important as the result
After the 3-0 victory over Hertha BSC and the 5-1 win against SC Paderborn 07, the Knappen are searching for their third consecutive victory. The performances have been just as important as the results of late for Wagner, who has demanded a lot from his team in recent weeks. “For me it’s just as important to consider how we get the result as it is simply to get a result,” said Wagner. “It was a compelling performance, both in terms of how we defended for long stretches and how we played going forward.”
But Wagner also emphasizes that the game in the East Westphalia now belongs in the past, the full focus is on the duel with the 1. FSV Mainz 05. “We have total respect for Mainz,” says Wagner, who admits the two teams have a very similar playing style. “They have a very aggressive style of play, especially on second balls. They are also quite versatile, can play with a diamond or in 4-4-2. “
Except for Raman all players are ready for action
All first team players are available for the match against Sandro Schwarz’s squad, with the exception of Benito Raman, who will definitely miss the match due to ankle problems. “As a coach, there is nothing better than to see than an almost complete squad on the pitch,” Wagner emphasizes, adding that: “It will be a competitive between two high level teams, played in an intense atmosphere.”
It will be a competitive between two high level teams, played in an intense atmosphere.
The coach of the Royal Blues currently could not say whether he will change his starting eleven from the Paderborn game. “We’ll have to see who looks like fresh on Friday,” says Wagner. With only a few days between the games in Paderborn and against Mainz, it will be difficult for the coach to predict who looks fit.
Despite good performances of late, Wagner also explains that the team has “plenty of room for improvement in all areas”. “We can’t be conceding more goals like the one in Paderborn,” says the Schalke boss. “We have been too passive in some situations and have missed some chances on the break”, adds Wagner, who also emphasizes that the team cannot get complacent despite their current winning streak. Wagner: “There’s still a ways to go, but we are on the right track.”