Huub Stevens: It will be difficult for the opponent to beat us
After the disappointing last-minute defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt, the Knappen will play their next Bundesliga match on Friday (12/4, 20:30 CEST). The away game against 1.FC Nürnberg could see a number of players return to the side.
Weston McKennie (ruptured ligament injury) and Salif Sané (muscular injury) have both returned to full training. “Weston trained with any issues on Wednesday,” reported Stevens. If the American doesn’t have feel any more pain ahead of the game, he should return to the squad, along with Sané. “Salif trained on his own on Tuesday, worked hard and is also free of pain. If he suffers a reaction, then the risk would be too big for him to play. Hopefully he will make it.”
Bentaleb impresses in training
Nabil Bentaleb, who was sent to train with the U23s due to disciplinary reasons three weeks ago, has returned to the first team this week and is another option for Stevens – especially as Suat Serdar will be suspended after his red card against Eintracht Frankfurt. “I watched Nabil trained with the U23s, so that I could make my mind up over him,” revealed Schalke’s head coach. Bentaleb is said to have impressed in training and has fully recovered from his injury, meaning he could feature against Nürnberg.
Despite the 2-1 defeat, the 65-year-old coach was satisfied with the team’s display versus Frankfurt. “I think we are taking steps in the right direction”, said Stevens. He felt that the team played better against Frankfurt and Bremen than they did in the 1-0 win in Hannover. “It’s a shame that we couldn’t get the reward for working hard against a fresher side,” reflected Stevens.
It’s a shame that we couldn’t get the reward for working hard against a fresher side.
Stevens’ team will need to get in behind Nürnberg’s well-organised defence on Friday in the Max-Morlock-Stadion. “It will be easiest to get in behind by playing vertical passes,” he said. “I think we have the right players to do this.”
The players’ age is unimportant
The squad for the game against Schalke’s friends will ultimately be decided after the final training session. The head coach feels that the players’ ages aren’t important, despite the increasing pressure of a relegation battle. “Sometimes the younger players are more care-free, which can work in your favour,” said the experienced coach.
The Dutchman is also convinced that success on the pitch will soon return – but only when his team display the classic Schalke values: “If we do that, it will be difficult for the opponent to beat us,” remarked Stevens.