"As far as we’re concerned, we could kick off in an hour!"

On Friday night (Jan 17) at 20:30 CET, FC Schalke 04 will kick-start the second half of the Bundesliga season with a home game against Borussia Mönchengladbach, an opponent for whom David Wagner has a lot of respect, and for good reason.

David Wagner

After all, the Foals ended the first half of the season at second place in the table, having been pipped to the post by Leipzig late in the year. “Gladbach’s performance in the first half of the season speaks for itself. They’re a really good team,” said the Royal Blue boss, before reiterating that his side would not let their game be influenced by the opposition.

Question marks regarding Harit

Aside from Benjamin Stambouli, Salif Sané and Weston McKennie, who are recovering from long-term injuries, another Schalke player is a doubt for the game against second-placed Gladbach. Amine Harit is suffering from thigh problems: “It could be close call for Friday” said Wagner.

Wagner would not reveal whether Jean-Clair Tobido, who was loaned to Schalke for the remainder of the season on Wednesday, will be in the squad. According to the head coach, there are pros and cons regarding Tobido’s inclusion, since the 20-year-old only started training with his new teammates on Thursday. Wagner described the new arrival as an exciting and talented player who “is raring to go for us”. “His best and preferred position is centre-back – we’ll have to see how quickly the lad adapts to everything now. He’s a very open character, gives off positive energy and is very eager to learn,” added the head coach.

Jean-Clair is a very open character, gives off positve energy and is very eager to learn.

David Wagner

Michael Gregoritsch, on the other hand, has completely settled in. Just last week, he was involved in his first Schalke win as the team beat Hamburg 4-0. “I already knew he was a very outgoing young man. He’s fun to talk to,” said Wagner about the Austrian. “He’s been at it from day one trying to adapt to things and he has settled in very well.”

Excitement mounts

Regardless of any questions surrounding personnel, the aim on Friday is to get back into the rhythm and pick up where they left off in December. Wagner: “We want to get back out on the pitch and enjoy our football. As far as we’re concerned, we could kick-off in an hour!”

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