David Wagner: You need to do everything right against them, not just a few things
Schalke 04 await a difficult next task against RB Leipzig on Saturday (22nd Feb) at 18:30 (CET) at the VELTINS-Arena. Head coach David Wagner expects that Suat Serdar could make his return against the side second-placed in the Bundesliga. The Germany international is taking part in training again after an ankle problem.
“It looks like he has been working on making an appearance. Suat completed the whole training session on Thursday pain-free. We shall have to wait and see if he can make it through the final training session OK,” said the coach. Serdar has been an important player in Wagner’s system this season, as the manager notes: “Suat brings a lot of energy into the team.”
There is also good news in regards to Weston McKennie’s situation. The American had picked up a thigh injury in Schalke’s last game away at Mainz. The definite Royal Blue absentees for the match against RB Leipzig are Daniel Caligiui (medial collateral injury) Salif Sane (rehab after knee operation) and Benjamin Stambouli (Rehab after broken foot).
Suat brings a lot of energy into the team.
Before the match, Wagner praised Leipzig, saying: “Leipzig are clearly a quality side. You need to really do everything to succeed against them, not just a few things.” In other words, bring pace and intensity to the game, make use of Schalke set pieces and deny Leipzig set pieces, take chances that arise and play a good passing game.
Very convincing result in the last fixture
If the Royal Blues show courage, they could summon up the kind of performance that they managed to produce against Leipzig in their last fixture this season, with a 3-1 away win in their best performance of the season so far. Indeed, Leipzig will also make the trip to Gelsenkirchen with a lot of self-confidence. Leipzig won during the week in the Last 16 of the Champions League away at Tottenham Hotspur while also producing a convincing performance.
Whether or not Leipzig decide to rotate their side after the game in Europe, Wagner believes that it won’t factor into the match preparation very much, as “their gameplan will not change“. Moreover, Wagner wants to focus on his own team rather than dwell on the opponents’. He will also rely on the fans in the VELTINS-Arena. His wish is for them to create a similar atmosphere to the one that they produced during the 2-0 home win against Borussia Mönchengladbach.