David Wagner: A new game under different circumstances
FC Schalke 04 welcome Fortuna Düsseldorf to the VELTINS-Arena on Saturday (9th November, 15:30 CET) for the last game before the third international break of the season. “We want to go into the break with a positive result and a good performance,” says head coach David Wagner.
Ozan Kabak is the only regular centre-back at the coach’s disposal for the Rhineland showdown. After Benjamin Stambouli picked up a foot injury in the Revierderby, Salif Sané was also injured during the Augsburg match. The Senegalese international suffered a knee injury and will be out for the next three to four months.
Moreover, the Royal Blues will have to make do without Matija Nastasic, who has an ongoing problem with his Achilles tendon. “We are working hard to get Mati back to match fitness for the Bremen game,” says Wagner, who is planning to play Weston McKennie alongside Ozan Kabak again against Düsseldorf. The all-rounder dropped back from midfield to join the back line after Sané’s injury at Augsburg.
Of course, we have talked about last season’s 4-0 defeat
Two defenders from the U23s squad have also been training with the first team for the past few days. Wagner is yet to decide if he will call the two fourth tier players up for the Düsseldorf clash. “We’ll see which option makes the most sense after the final training session and then put our squad together,” says the 48-year-old.
No change of philosophy
According to Wagner, S04 will not change the way they play football because of injuries or the opposition. “It’s not about who plays, it’s about how we play,” explains the head coach, whose team most recently celebrated a 3-2 win at Augsburg. “The guys fought really hard in that game,” he praises.
Schalke’s last meeting with Düsseldorf was not such a happy occasion. Just over half a year ago, Fortuna won 4-0 at the VELTINS Arena. “Of course, we have discussed that match together,” says Wagner. “But we’re now meeting them under completely different circumstances. We want to win and celebrate with our fans.”