Domenico Tedesco: Keep working, over and over again
After the strong performance and late Champions League heartbreak against Manchester City on Wednesday, the Royal Blues prepare for their next match in the Bundesliga on Saturday (15:30 CET). FC Schalke 04 travel to face 1. FSV Mainz 05 and the Royal Blues have fond memories of taking on the Rhineland-Palatinate club.
Schalke have won each of their last five matches against Mainz, including a 1-0 victory in the VELTINS-Arena earlier this season. Domenico Tedesco’s side secured all three points back in September courtesy of a Alessandro Schöpf strike.
Despite this favourable record, Tedesco is not choosing to focus on the statistics. Instead, the Royal Blues head coach is focused on the present and his preparations ahead of the match in Mainz. His side will hope to take three important points back to Gelsenkirchen. “We fully understand the current league situation and need to give a similarly strong performance in Mainz to Wednesday night,” said the 33 year-old regarding the task at hand in Mainz.
Burgstaller and McKennie doubtful
The Schalke head coach has a couple of injury concerns in his squad ahead of the trip to Mainz. “Guido Burgstaller rolled his ankle, stretching his foot in the process,” said Tedesco regarding the Austrian’s knock in the Champions League match against Manchester City. Alongside the striker, Weston McKennie is a doubt for the trip to Mainz after suffering a thigh problem against the Premier League champions.
Signs are more optimistic for Nabil Bentaleb, who suffered a tight muscle towards the end of the Champions League match on Wednesday. However, after scoring two penalties against Manchester City, the Algerian has recovered in time to face the 05ers on Saturday. Additionally, as Tedesco previously mentioned, Alexander Nübel is expected to return to the starting lineup after completing his two match Bundesliga suspension. He is set to replace Ralf Fährmann between the sticks.
You have seen what the team can achieve
The 33 year-old has a lot of respect for Schalke’s upcoming opponents, especially the quality Mainz possess in midfield. “They can easily play in a diamond formation or change to a 3-5-2. In the centre of midfield and defence, they have players who can easily recover the ball and turn over possession in their favour. They are very compact and aggressive,” added Tedesco, who called out Pierre Kunde Malong and Jean-Philippe Gbamin as two players who “have a lot of potential.”
Despite the disappointing of the late goals conceded against Manchester City, the Royal Blues are fully focused on their upcoming match. “We have to take to take the positives out of the Champions League match,” admitted Tedesco, who believes his team have put Wednesday’s match behind them. “Of course it was a huge shame that we were not able to hold on and take a lead into the second leg,” said Tedesco. He added: “Nobody expected a performance like that from us on Wednesday. You saw how this team is capable of performing. We just need to keep working, over and over again.”