Tactical change, improved performance – and then a deserved win

After a tactical change the side’s performance improved greatly. After an average first-half display, the Royal Blues stepped up in the second half to beat VfL Wolfsburg 2-1. Switching to a back five from a back four gave the Royal Blues more control of the game and they were more dangerous too. “The second half was a completely different story,” stated head coach Domenico Tedesco.

“We defended higher up the pitch and did well on the ball despite their pressure,” said Tedesco on the second half. “Therefore I feel we deserved to win the game.”

Daniel Caligiuri, who scored both of Schalke’s goals, praised the team’s attitude: “We fought our way to the victory today,” said the 31-year-old, who also criticised the side’s passive nature in the first 45. “It was a little bit too easy for Wolfsburg in the first half, so we switched to a back three. After that things improved.” Benjamin Stambouli also felt that the tactical change was a big reason for the win. “Changing to three at the back meant we were in the game more,” said the Frenchman. “One of our strengths is being able to change our formation when things are going to plan.”

We know what Ralf Fährmann brings - as a keeper and as a person.

Domenico Tedesco

The relief on the fans and the players’ faces after the game was clear for all to see. “It’s always great to start the Rückrunde with a win”, said Weston McKennie, who brilliantly assisted the winning goal in the 78th minute. Stambouli also agreed with McKennie: “If you take three points, then you have done your job.” The defender also knew that the performance wasn’t perfect though.

Stambouli captained the Royal Blues as Ralf Fährmann had been replaced by Alexander Nübel in the starting XI. “It’s an honour and made me very proud”, said the 28-year-old. He was also quick to state that “Ralf Fährmann is still our captain!” Domenico Tedesco explained how difficult a decision it was to leave out Fährmann for the game against Wolfsburg. “We know what Ralf Fährmann brings – as a keeper and as a person. That hasn’t changed. Ralf had been a bit uncertain recently. We had a feeling that his mind wasn’t clear,” said Tedesco. “Alex Nübel has looked good when he’s played and has trained well. When we considered all of that, we decided to play Alex.”

S04 hoping to win third-straight Bundesliga game in Berlin

Christian Heidel made it clear that everybody at the club knows how good a goalkeeper Alexander Nübel is, and how he often proves it in training. The sporting director also praised Ralf Fährmann for his behavior regarding the decision. “He took the decision well – just like a captain would,” said Heidel.

After the win over Wolfsburg, the second Bundesliga success in a row, the Royal Blues will now travel to Berlin to face Hertha BSC on Friday (25/01, 20:30 CET). “Our next tough game comes on Friday in Berlin – but we are ready for the challenge,” said Mark Uth, who also added “we want to take something from the game!”

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