Manuel Baum: Strengths will determine strategy

Manuel Baum has his first match as FC Schalke 04 head coach on Saturday (3/10) when the Royal Blues travel to RB Leipzig (18:30 CEST). He has been working intensively over the last few days with his staff and the squad to make sure that the side is as prepared as possible to face the Champions League semi-finalists.

Manuel Baum

Baum and Naldo have got an extra pair of hands to help prepare for the match against Leipzig. The current U17s coach, Onur Cinel, will support the first team squad as an assistant manager. “Onur Cinel is a very skilled coach. The academy isn’t just made up of great players, but excellent coaches too,” says Baum.

Take quality onto the pitch

It’s been an intensive few days for the staff. “We got an idea of the squad’s strengths in the first few training sessions. We’ll use that to inform our strategy for the game in Leipzig,” says Baum, who has been holding lots of individual conversations as well as leading training. The 41-year-old has been impressed by the squad’s commitment: “Everyone can and wants to do more than they’ve shown so far.”

The squad has potential. There’s undoubtedly lots of quality there – we need to take it onto the pitch.

Manuel Baum

Baum stresses the importance of approaching the upcoming challenges positively and not looking to the past. “The squad has potential. There’s undoubtedly lots of quality there – we need to take it onto the pitch,” says Baum. “I’m sure that we’ll go into the game against Leipzig with a good attitude.”

Getting a result is just as important as putting in a good performance for Baum. “We’ve set ourselves a few goals independent of the result that we’d like to achieve. We want to have the ball and be courageous going forward when we win it. It was clear to see in training that we have quality in attack.” On the other hand, Baum knows it’s important to look at RB Leipzig’s strengths; they’ve started the season with a 3-1 win at home to Mainz and a 1-1 draw in Leverkusen. If you’re only trying to defend, you’ll become passive and make mistakes, according to Baum, so you have to keep pushing forwards.

Kabak suspended, Serdar may return

Ozan Kabak is suspended so will not be available for selection. Suat Serdar, who had to be substituted in the opener in Munich due to injury, could make his return to the team in the Red Bull Arena. “Suat completed training on Thursday,” says the coach. Baum will talk to the player after the final training session. “If he says he’s fit to play, he’ll play.”

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