Wagner talks up Wolfsburg and leader McKennie ahead of penultimate fixture
S04 play host to VfL Wolfsburg in the final home game of the 2019/20 season on Saturday (20/6, 15:30 CEST). Even though Europe is out of reach for the Royal Blues, head coach David Wagner was clear on his aim to finish the season on a high note.
“It’s common knowledge that each position up the table brings you a better financial position,” said Schalke’s head coach at Friday’s press conference. With that in mind, all focus is on Saturday’s match against VfL Wolfsburg, in which Wagner will have more or less the same squad available as on Wednesday’s match against Frankfurt. Just two changes are to be expected, with Daniel Caligiuri coming back from suspension, while Can Bozdogan is himself ineligible following his midweek red card.
Oliver Glasner’s Wolfsburg currently find themselves in sixth place chasing a spot in next season’s Europa League. “It’s nice for us to play against two teams with a lot to play for,” said Wagner ahead of the match against the Wolves and next week’s clash against Freiburg.
Wagner: Wolfsburg deserve to be sixth
Wagner described VfL as a “complete team,” who not only have immense attacking prowess, but they also have a very good goalkeeper. “They have physicality in their squad, as well as footballing finesse. They are also dangerous from set pieces and have a lot of depth in their squad. They are a team that deserves to be up there where they are,” summarised the Royal Blues’ coach.
Once again, it’s about giving everything to the cause against VfL – something nobody can accuse the team of lacking in recent weeks. “We cannot deny that these young lads in the past few matches have played with honour, ambition and the determination do absolutely all they can,” emphasised Wagner. “I can’t fault the way this team has gone about its business in recent matches, even if they didn’t end up winning.”
We cannot deny that these young lads, in the past few matches, have played with honour, ambition and the determination do absolutely all they can.
The head coach reserved special praise for Weston McKennie, who scored a header in Frankfurt and – not least due to his high fitness levels – continues to play at a consistently high level. “He has embraced this role of taking on more responsibility on the pitch,” said Wagner.
The 48-year-old also announced that, together with sporting director Jochen Schneider, he would face the media as soon as the season has finished. “After the season, we will release a very clear analysis. We have been working on this for some weeks now,” Wagner revealed. But that’s not the priority now, all that counts is the final two matches, starting with Wolfsburg’s visit on Saturday. “We want to play to our limit against VfL.”