Manuel Baum: A clear mind and fire in our bellies

In just his third Bundesliga game in charge of FC Schalke 04, Manuel Baum will lead his side into his first Revierderby. Saturday’s clash will be the 157th between the two sides in all competitions and the 97th in the Bundesliga (18:30 CEST).

Manuel Baum

“I’m really looking forward to my first derby as Schalke head coach,” revealed Baum. “I’m sad that our fans can’t be there though.” Due to the coronavirus pandemic, only 300 home fans will attend Saturday’s game.

Fährmann, Serdar and Uth to miss out

Three Schalke players will also miss the trip to Dortmund. Ralf Fährmann, Suat Serdar and Mark Uth won’t be available for Manuel Baum’s side. When asked about Uth’s absence, the head coach was quick to stress that the game plan isn’t dependent on one player. Although Uth is a creative player who is dangerous in front of goal, Baum feels that “we have a lot of potential in our squad and quality up front with different types of strikers. I’m confident that we can compensate for Mark’s absence.”

The new head coach was above all pleased with the fighting spirit his side showed in the 1-1 draw with Union Berlin last time out. Now he hopes his side can improve the footballing side of their game. This desired fluency has been on show in training, but once it comes to the real thing his side has lacked confidence on the ball. “Our play with the ball will improve with the more confidence we have,” explained Baum. “We’ve been impressive in training and in the friendly we had.”

Gegenpressing the key to success

Baum described the upcoming opponents as a side with an enormous amount of individual quality. “They are good going forwards and they are strong both when they regain and lose possession. In order to be able to attack well, the football god invented Gegenpressing,” said Baum. “You can attack better if you are successful at winning the ball back.”

It’s important that we go into the game with a clear mind and fire in our bellies.

Manuel Baum

A tactical and mental plan will also be key in Dortmund, according to Baum. “We will need to partner the right emotions you need for a derby with an appropriate performance,” explained Baum, adding: “It’s important that we go into the game with a clear mind and fire in our bellies.”

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