David Wagner: A squad full of good options
The Bundesliga is finally back this weekend after a two-week break. FC Schalke 04 face an away game against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Sunday 20th (18:00 CEST). It will be a trip down memory lane for head coach David Wagner.
The 47-year-old worked at Hoffenheim’s youth academy between 2007 and 2009. “I spent my first two years as a full time coach there and gained a lot of insight,” reflects Wagner. “It was an exciting time for the whole club and a very educational experience for me.”
Despite this connection, the Royal Blues boss is, of course, aiming for a third Bundesliga away win in a row on Sunday. However, Wagner may have to go without Germany’s newest international for this challenge. Suat Serdar had to leave training early on Tuesday due to adductor problems and did not take part in Friday’s session. “It’s hard to tell if he will be ready for the Hoffenheim game,” says Wagner. “We will see how he does in the final training session. Suat will only play if he is without pain and can complete the full session,” continues the head coach.
We have a squad that offers us a lot of really good alternatives
If Serdar, who has been in excellent form recently, does the miss the game, the management will still have good players available to them. “We have a lot of options in our squad,” said Wagner, who will turn 48 on Saturday. There are no other doubts ahead of the game on Sunday. Nassim Boujellab has recently been out with a thigh problem, but should return to training again on Friday. Weston McKennie is still an option despite travelling across the world to play for USA during the international break. “He’s hidden the travel stress well so far,” commented Wagner. McKennie was given a rest on Thursday but will train again today.
A lot of respect for Hoffenheim
Wagner has a lot of respect for the upcoming opposition, and with good reason. “It speaks for itself when you manage to beat Bayern München away. They proved all of their recent doubters wrong. They’re a strong team with a clear philosophy and a lot of individual quality.”
There’s nothing better than leading a squad where everyone is fit and giving everything they can
Of course, Wagner did not reveal what his starting XI for the match against TSG would be. He is aware that it will not be easy but emphasises the professional attitude of all his players – even if one or two of them are only called upon rarely. “They take every training session seriously, whether or not they’re going to play in the match. There’s nothing better than leading a squad where everyone is fit and giving everything they can.”