Huub Stevens: The team will give everything to secure a good result
After a two week international break, FC Schalke 04 return to Bundesliga action away against Hannover 96 on Sunday afternoon (15:30 CEST). Royal Blues head coach Huub Stevens is hoping to secure his points since returning to the club. However, the 65 year-old has not given any insight as to who will be available for Schalke on Sunday afternoon.
“There are a few players out with injuries,” explained Stevens during his press conference against the Lower Saxony side, who are currently 17th in the Bundesliga table. Weston McKennie and Alessandro Schöpf have both been ruled out of the clash in the HDI Arena while Ralf Fährmann, Amine Harit and Steven Skrzybski are currently training individually. Guido Burgstaller is currently suffering the painful after-effects of a tooth operation and is partially training. “We will have to wait and see,” said Stevens regarding a potential start in Hannover for the Austrian striker. Burgstaller signed a new contract extension this week to extend his stay in Gelsenkirchen until 2022.
Daniel Caligiuri could be a surprise inclusion in the squad for the trip to Hannover after he suffered an injury in Bremen at the start of March. “Cali partially trained on Friday and we have high hopes for him to return soon,” said the Royal Blues head coach, who is also cautious regarding an immediate comeback. “We will have to see how he gets on in training on Saturday as he will train at a higher intensity then.”
Stevens sees positive progress in the international break
With the exception of the Royal Blues on international duty, Stevens has had two weeks to train with the squad and has reached positive conclusions regarding the team’s progress. “The players who stayed here during the international break worked hard and completed training as normal. It has been fun to work with them,” added the 65 year-old. Looking ahead to the Hannover match, Stevens said: “The team will give everything to secure a good result.”
In training, the team have been working on clearing their heads from previous disappointments to focus on the final stretch of the season. Stevens is also not looking at the current table standings and allowing that to influence match preparations. “The table standings is only important after matchday 34,” says the Dutchman. He has naturally acknowledged that Hannover are also not where they want to be but isn’t dwelling on the problems Sunday’s opponents currently have. “It is all about us. I would like my players to bring a good performance on Sunday.”
Praise for Boujellab
One of the players Stevens could call upon is Nassim Boujellab, who has been playing for Schalke’s U23s team this season. However, he has also been training with the first team and played in the Trofeo Antonio Puerta match against hosts Sevilla. “Nassim played well in Seville and has been training well recently too. He could be included in the squad,” added Stevens. However, the Dutchman has opted to wait until Saturday before making a final decision.
It is important that we come together as a team.
A strong team performance is needed on Sunday to bring all three points back to Gelsenkirchen from Hannover. The travelling Royal Blues supporters will provide plenty of vocal support in the stadium. “It is important that we come together as a team,” stressed Stevens. “I know that the fans will do the same, I am sure of that. I hope that this will continue to be the case in the future.