Neither a glass half empty, nor a glass half full

The Royal Blues had to settle for a 0-0 draw against Freiburg on Saturday. “When you play for more than 45 minutes with a man down, then you’ve got to accept a point,” says Matija Nastasic, who, like the rest of the team, had wanted to get more than a draw.

“The draw feels neither like a glass half empty nor a glass half full. We really wanted to win,” said Mark Uth. But the Germany international stresses that the team must settle for the goalless draw based on how the game went. The attacker is certain that Schalke would have won if Suat Serdar hadn’t received his marching orders in the 42nd minute. “I’m only speculating, of course,” Uth admits. “But with a bit of patience, we would have most likely got a goal in the second half.”

No clear chances created

Before the break, Schalke were the better team. Against a Freiburg side that played deep into their own half, very few good chances were created. Nonetheless, Tedesco’s men largely set the tempo of the match. “It was extremely tough for our strikers, as Freiburg were playing very deep,” explains Nastasic. “We had a lot of possession, but we failed to create clear chances,” added Uth.

When you play for more than 45 minutes with a man down, then you’ve got to accept a point.

Matija Nastasic

Freiburg were on a mission not to concede, however. “All in all, it was a tricky game,” says Nastasic, who, despite being a man down, looked to attack out of defence like his teammates. “Two weeks ago, against Gladbach, we didn’t do well after going a man down,” remembers Bastian Oczipka. “This time, we kept our opposition further away from our net.” This was not so easy to do, admits Uth: “You’ve got to run a lot and close down space in other ways. It’s definitely different than playing 11 vs. 11,” says the 27-year-old.

Burgstaller returns to action

Despite the result, Guido Burgstaller had one reason to celebrate: Sunday marked the Schalke man’s first appearance in over two months, after a spell on the sidelines due to injury. “I feel good and don’t have any pain,” said the attacker. “I have to bounce back now and find my rhythm again after a long time out.”

Burgstaller may make another appearance when Schalke face Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday. “City are one of the best and most in-form sides in Europe,” admitted the Austrian international. “But we will give everything we have and show that we aren’t pushovers.” Nastasic was of the same opinion. “I have a lot of respect for Man City, but certainly no fear,” said the centre-back, who played for the Cityzens before joining the Royal Blues. “As a team, we have worked hard to get to where we are and be able to play at this stage. Now we want to enjoy the game and give everything we’ve got.”

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