Thomas Reis: We’re a team, which is what we need in our situation

With the Bundesliga season drawing to a close, FC Schalke 04 are still locked in a fierce fight against relegation. Following last weekend’s 5-2 win against Hertha BSC, the Royal Blues are looking to take points off SC Freiburg on Sunday (23/4, 15:30 CEST).

“We know that we still need several points,” head coach Thomas Reis said during Friday’s pre-match press conference. While they opened the weekend of Bundesliga action with a Friday night match last time out, this weekend Schalke will only be in action after all the other sides at the bottom of the table have already played. “We need to be able to withstand the pressure. We can’t influence what happens in the other games,” said Reis. The coach is looking for his team to “keep a clear head and have the right mentality” in order to take points off a strong Freiburg side.

Cedric Brummer, Tim Skarke and Ralf Fährmann are all unavailable for this weekend’s match after picking up injuries against Hertha. Maya Yoshida (muscle injury) and Éder Balanta (knee) also won’t feature. When asked about Balanta, who tweaked his knee in training this week, Reis said “Fortunately, it’s nothing serious. I think that he will be able to return to training soon.”

Schwolow facing his former club

Alexander Schwolow will start in goal for the Royal Blues this weekend, making it the second game in a row that he will come up against one of his former clubs. “Alex has always worked hard,” said Reis. “He’s got 194 Bundesliga games under his belt and we know what kind of performance he’s capable of. He gives me and the team a good feeling in every training session.“

Reis‘ first match as S04 head coach came against Freiburg earlier this season. Since then, the team have undergone a strong development, said the coach. “We have improved in several areas, but also know that we’ve not achieved the maximum possible yet. Sometimes, we fall back into our old ways,” Reis explained. However, he added that the team have always picked themselves up after experiencing a set-back, an important quality when battling relegation.

Everyone is there for each other. That gives me a positive feeling heading into our remaining games.

Thomas Reis

SC, meanwhile, can be found in the top half of the table this season, and look on track to qualify for Europe again. “Freiburg’s team has grown together over the years. They are a physical side that invest a lot of energy into their games, including the coach – who I have a lot of respect for,” said Reis. In addition to being prepared for a hard fight, Schalke will need to find the right moments to impact the game. “The important thing is for us to be brave,” the coach said, while praising the camaraderie within the dressing room. “We’re one team, which you need in our situation. Everyone is there for each other. That gives me a positive feeling heading into our remaining games.”

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