S04 take on Hertha BSC in rescheduled fixture
FC Schalke 04 will host Hertha BSC in the VELTINS-Arena on Wednesday (12 May, 18:00 CEST) in the rescheduled Matchday 31 fixture. "We will work on a strategy with the players in order to play a good game and get as much as possible out of it. That’s our focus," said head coach Dimitrios Grammozis. "We are aware that we need to show a different side to us from the one in the second half against Hoffenheim," he underlined.
Preparations for this clash with Berlin’s ‘Old Lady’ did not go as planned, however. On Monday (10 May), after one of the players tested positive for coronavirus at one of the daily quick tests, the day’s training sessions were called off. Instead, a series of unscheduled PCR tests were carried out, which confirmed the quick test result of the player in question. A further player also tested positive after the PCRs. Since all other players’ results came back negative, the team was allowed to travel to the planned quarantine training camp on Tuesday. The respective health authorities permitted this after consultation and after investigating the protective measures.
In the meantime, Grammozis had time to reflect once again on the 4-2 defeat to Hoffenheim at the weekend. He stated that his players had done a lot of what was expected of them in the first 45 minutes, and done so well. Which makes the events of the second half all the more disappointing and difficult to understand. The early goal in the second half saw heads drop. Mentality got the better of them, said Grammozis, who sees lack of confidence from the course of the season as the main reason for this.
The boss does not wish to dwell on the defeat in Sinsheim any longer, though. His focus is on Hertha BSC. The 42-year-old described the opposition as a team with a lot of individual quality. “They have good strength in depth with a lot of players that can play in multiple positions,” said Grammozis, referring to the defensive versatility of Pal Dardai’s team, who can play with a back three or a back four. Grammozis added: “They defend aggresiviely and stay compact. They also have strikers that can always be dangerous up front.”
We will not take our foot off the gas. We will prepare the lads to try and end the season on a high.
Relegation notwithstanding, Grammozis has stressed once again that his team will be fully committed to the remaining games. “We will not take our foot off the gas. We will prepare the lads to try and end the season on a high,” said the coach.
Important lessons learned
Grammozis did not reveal, however, to what extent he would be using further talents from the Knappenschmiede to try and achieve this. He was full of praise for Florian Flick, who made his first team debut against Hoffenheim along with Jimmy Kaparos: “He did really well in his first game. It is important to learn from it and see if the players can keep up at this level,” said Grammozis. “We’ve seen a lot of young players take a big step forward. You mustn’t make the mistake, however, of burdening them with all the responsibility.”