Michael Gregoritsch: A dream debut

Michael Gregoritsch received a standing ovation as he was taken off shortly before full time during Friday’s 2-0 win against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The round of applause was well-deserved after an impressive performance in his first ever appearance for the Royal Blues, picking up a goal and an assist, as well as making a goal-line clearance at the other end of the pitch.

Michael Gregoritsch

“That’s how you dream your debut will go,” the 25-year-old said after the game. “We won the game and I played my part in it. It’s a really, really good start for me.” Gregoritsch had the chance to make his mark just seven minutes into his Schalke career. The attacker managed to evade the Gladbach defence and get onto the end of Benito Raman’s cross, however his shot was too close to Yann Sommer in the Borussia net.

I’d rather not say what was going through my head after I missed that chance.

Michael Gregoritsch

‘Gregerl’ was hugely disappointed after his missed opportunity; however he was able to joke about it after the final whistle. “I wanted to score my first goal for Schalke in front of the Nordkurve; that’s why I saved it for the second half,” said the Austrian with a wink. However, he then admitted, “When you don’t play for the entire Hinrunde, it knocks your confidence. I’d rather not say what was going through my head after I missed that chance.”

The Austrian has had to adapt his style of play

Gregoritsch has been put to work over the past two and a half weeks. After the completion of his loan move from FC Augsburg, the left-footer has had to adapt his play style. During a conversation back in December, David Wagner explained to the winger what he expects from his new signing: putting the opponent under instant pressure and pressing without the ball. “I showed him how our strikers defend and asked him: do you want to do that? Can you do that?” His answer, according to the head coach, was clear: “Yes, I want to do that. I can do that!”

And it appears the Austrian is a man of his word. The new signing completed 39 sprints in the win over Gladbach (behind Benito Raman’s highest of 42), ran a total of almost ten kilometres and won the ball back on numerous occasions. David Wagner heaped praise onto the debutant, “He’s a really clever footballer.” Gregoritsch joked that he had no other choice but to perform, as “when there are nine other players sprinting around the pitch, you feel obliged to do the same.”

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