David Wagner: The fans will be right behind us

Ahead of the 96th Revierderby on Saturday (16/5, 15:30 CEST), David Wagner answered journalists’ questions in a virtual press conference. The Royal Blues’ head coach reported on what he’s seen in the past couple of weeks, team news and reflected on the game against S04’s local rivals being played behind closed doors.

David Wagner

“All the teams are going into this weekend without much preparation time, so we all have to simply accept it,” said Wagner, who, just like his team, cannot wait for the restart of the division after a break of more than two-and-a-half months.

“It’s an extremely tough time for all of us – both professionally and privately. The lads have made the best out of the situation though,” said Wagner, who, along with Head of Sport Jochen Schneider, has regularly spoken with the players about the ongoing situation.”

Derby comes too early for Kabak

Wagner will be without a trio of Royal Blues for the short trip down the road. Ozan Kabak has been training with the first team for a week, but the derby will come too soon for the defender, with Wagner not wanting to take any risks with the Turkish international. “I’m confident that he will be fit again for the home game against Augsburg or the midweek game after that,” explained the coach. Long-term absentees Omar Mascarell and Benjamin Stambouli will also miss out.

The team’s flexibility is an advantage

The coach wasn’t prepared to reveal any tactical decisions in the virtual press conference but was quick to praise his side’s flexibility. “We are capable of mixing up formations and the way we attack them. The fact that we have used these variations before is definitely an advantage for us.” Wagner and his coaching team will look to work out how to keep Dortmund’s attackers at bay, while also planning how to attack them, “so that we can hurt them in the dangerous areas of the pitch.”

This isn’t just any old game – it’s the derby! It’s Schalke against Dortmund and still the biggest game of the season for us!

David Wagner

The fact that the first game after a long break is the derby in Dortmund is also something that Wagner feels is beneficial. “This isn’t just any old game – it’s the derby! It’s Schalke against Dortmund and still the biggest game of the season for us! Even though the fans can’t be with us in the stadium, I know they will be right behind us still. It’s still a derby, with or without fans. We still want to win it at all costs!”

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