Team unity the key to success
It’s has been a tough few weeks and an even tougher season, with the Royal Blues slipping further and further down the table after a rocky Rückrunde. For all those reasons and more, yesterday’s derby victory felt doubly sweet. Firstly, because our Bundesliga survival became even likelier, but also because of how it will have soothed the souls of all the Schalke fans who have endured so much this season.
“We gave something back to the fans with this win,” said Breel Embolo, who scored Schalke’s fourth shortly before the full-time whistle. Guido Burgstaller also paid tribute to the fans “who have stuck with us and believes in us through all the bad times. They deserved this derby win.”
BVB barely threaten
The fact Schalke pulled off such a big upset can be attributed to a unified team performance. “The key to success was that we all performed as a team,” explained Burgstaller. “We stood compact and worked well off the ball. Our opponents may have had more possession than us in the first half, but they barely threatened in the final third.”
That was our best game of the season
Not least due to a sensational performance from Salif Sané: “That was our best game this season,” claimed the Senegalese defender, who put Schalke ahead in the first half. “I’ve had to wait a long time for my second goal of the season. The derby was the perfect time to score again.”
Just like Sané, it was also a first derby goal for Embolo. “The moment the ball hit the back of the net was very special,” the Swiss attacker described. “I have always imagined what it would be like to score in a derby. Now I know!”
Belief grows after red cards
The belief in a win was always there, claims Burgstaller, but even more so after the two red cards. “Our opponents weakened themselves,” said Burgi. Both reds for Marco Reus and Marius Wolf came from fouls on Suat Serdar. “Within a few minutes I got two proper knocks to the ankle, or rather the achilles tendon,” told the U21 international. “But the derby win eases the pain somewhat!“
Jochen Schneider also talked about the “indescribable feeling. After all the negative results in recent weeks, very few would have expected that,” said our Head of Sport. “But if we hadn’t made it 4-2 so quickly, it would have been nervy again. We may have had the numbers, but at Stuttgart I also turned things around 9v11 against Bielefeld, so it isn’t impossible.”
Points tally still unsatisfactory after 31 matchdays
Despite all the excitement and joy after the derby win, Schneider isn’t getting carried away. “30 points from 31 matches is simply not enough for FC Schalke 04. That’s not even one point per game.” The team, according to Schneider, needs to now question why they haven’t been able to deliver such passionate performances all season.
We're not getting carried away. 30 points from 31 matchdays is not enough.
A sentiment shared by Benjamin Stambouli. “We made lots of mistakes in recent weeks,” the Frenchman admitted. “You can achieve anything with passion and determination. We need to show that in every, really every, game!” Next up are FC Augsburg on Sunday (5.5), where the Royal Blues will be looking to build on this win and finally give the home fans at the VELTINS-Arena something to celebrate.