David Wagner: It makes the players even hungrier
04 days after the 120 intense minutes in the round of 16 of the DFB-Pokal against Hertha BSC, FC Schalke 04 will be challenged again on Saturday. In the second home game of the week, SC Paderborn will pay a visit to the VELTINS-Arena from 3.30 p.m. Despite the wear and tear after playing two games so close together, the Royal Blues want to draw one thing from the 3-2 success after extra time against Hertha: self-confidence for the upcoming games.
“We played over 120 minutes while the boys from Paderborn sat on the couch and watched the game relaxed,” said David Wagner. “But I have no worries at all. It is a challenge that we gracefully accept. We’re at home, we feel good and we know exactly how important this game is to us. So we really want to win it!”
Playing in front of their own fans gives the coach and the team confidence. After all, his team are unbeaten since losing in the first home game against Bayern Munich at the VELTINS arena. Wagner: “Our stadium is a very important part of our game. On Saturday it’ll be yet another difficult task but we’ll face it together, as a team.”
No worries with injuries
The team unfortunately has a few injuries to deal with going into the game. “Jonjoe Kenny is definitely out,” reported Wagner, who also has to do without Markus Schubert (patellar tendon irritation), Salif Sané (rehab after knee surgery), Benjamin Stambouli (rehab after broken foot) and more recently, Daniel Caligiuri (partial ligament rupture). “There are still big question marks over Weston McKennie and Suat Serdar, they will do stress tests.”
“We still have enough players. We take on the problems and look for ideas as to how to solve them. The boys have had to deal with injuries several times, it just makes them even hungrier for success,” said Wagner. The right back position will be of most concern to the coach ahead of the game, but he reiterated: “We have plenty of solutions, it’s about choosing the right one.”
They have a very clear idea of how to play football and they don’t let themselves stray from it.
The fact that the upcoming opponents currently sit in last place in the table is irrelevant for the head coach: “They were dismissed as the first relegated team before the season but they’re keeping up with everyone.” SCP gained seven points from the last four away games, which means the 48-year-old will have to give them respect: “I’m a fan of Paderborn and Steffen Baumgart. I find it admirable what they’re doing over there. They have a very clear idea of how to play football and they don’t let themselves stray from it.” Nevertheless, Wagner doesn’t want to hand out any gifts: “I hope we beat them!”