Domenico Tedesco: Freiburg are a tough opponent

FC Schalke 04 go into Saturday afternoon’s clash with SC Freiburg full of confidence. Despite the recent run of form, Domenico Tedesco emphasised the clash with the side in fourteenth place won’t be an easy one. “Playing against Freiburg is always tough,” said the Royal Blues’ head coach.

Domenico Tedesco

Saturday’s opposition have only won one game away from home in the Bundesliga this season but, on the other hand, have only lost one of their previous seven games. “Being ready to run is part of Freiburg’s DNA,” said Tedesco who has been examining Freiburg ahead of the tie. “Freiburg are well organised and keep their opponent guessing.”

S04 want to keep winning streak going

The 32-year-old coach also focused on the fact that the Royal Blues too can put in the hard yards. Alongside the physical and footballing battle which will take place on Saturday, there will also be a mental challenge. “In the past few weeks, we’ve been up to the challenge. The team is focused and has showed faultless character of late.”

After five wins in a row, the mood at Schalke is understandably positive. “When you’re winning, everything seems easier,” explained Tedesco. However, that does not mean the Knappen can start to let their guard down or forget what got them into second place originally. “The lads are chomping at the bit,” said the coach. “And they need to be against Freiburg!” In Christian Streich, Schalke face a side coached by a dynamic and demanding boss when it comes to football. “I tip my hat to the work he’s done there,” added Tedesco.

The lads are chomping at the bit and they need to be against Freiburg!

Domenico Tedesco

Bentaleb back, Kehrer available

In the FIFA international break, Schalke trained with a much smaller group due to the international duties of their respective players. “The lads who stayed here worked very hard,” praised Tedesco. The break also gave members of the Knappenschmiede (Schalke’s youth academy) the opportunity to participate in first team training.

Schalke’s 11 players who featured for the nations in the past few days are back in Gelsenkirchen. Weston McKennie has also returned after missing out on the US Men’s National Team’s friendly with Paraguay. “We’ll have to assess his fitness levels,” commented Tedesco who didn’t totally rule out him having a place in this weekend’s matchday squad.

Nabil Bentaleb, who travelled home early from international duty with Algeria, is ready to go in Tedesco’s eyes. “Nabil had minor muscle issues. The medical staff knew what to do and now he’s back in full training.” Thilo Kehrer will also be available to feature. Thilo missed out Schalke’s game with Wolfsburg and was not risked on international duty. Tedesco concluded: “His eye is still red but it’s not bothering Thilo.”

Facts and stats ahead of the game

The Knappen are the team of the moment in the Bundesliga. No other side has won their last five games. The Royal Blues could even match the club’s record of six consecutive wins this weekend.

Schalke have won each of their last four games ‘to nil’ and have never had a longer series of ‘to nil’ wins than four in their Bundesliga history.

Freiburg are the 0-0 kings of the division. Six of their games this season have ended 0-0.