Thomas Reis: We want to show which team is at home
Schalke’s last two games have seen decent performances and two decent results to boot. Following these goalless draws against Köln and Gladbach, Thomas Reis is desperate for a first win of 2023 on Friday at home to VfL Wolfsburg (10/2, 20:30 CET). “We want to take the next step and get a reward of three points,” said the head coach.
The 49-year-old believes the Knappen have been improving with every game over the past few weeks. “We were conceding too many goals at the start of the year and weren’t scoring any ourselves. We’ve now kept two clean sheets in a row, but failed to score ourselves. We want to continue remaining solid in defence and take our chances at the other end of the pitch,” explained Reis. “We had good opportunities for counter-attacks in Mönchengladbach, were brave and believed in ourselves until the final whistle. The last 20 minutes felt like a home game for us. The support from our fans was fantastic once again.”
Respect for Wolfsburg, but no fear
Reis recalled the excellent support in their last home game too, the 0-0 draw against Köln. “We saw once again how much energy we can create together with the fans in our stadium. Our supporters can be decisive for us. They can help influence the team’s performance and even impact our attackers in front of goal.”
We want to continue remaining solid in defence and take our chances at the other end.
Friday’s opponents Wolfsburg had recently been on a six-game winning run in the Bundesliga, prior to recent defeats to Werder Bremen (2-1) and FC Bayern (4-2). Nonetheless, they are still sat as high as seventh. “They sprint a lot and are good out wide. We will have to be really careful there,” warned Reis. “We can’t be scared of them though, we have to play with confidence. We respect them, but won’t fear them going into it. We want to show which team is at home.”
#STEHTAUF: Special shirts for Friday’s game
The Royal Blues will wear a special edition shirt against the Wolves. The warm-up shirts will also be unique, as both will feature the club’s slogan #STEHTAUF on them instead of the usual sponsors MeinAuto.de and HRS, who are supporting the club’s campaign week against discrimination and for more tolerance. The match worn shirts will be auctioned off after the game, with the proceeds going to the Schalke hilft! foundation.
Reis hasn’t yet decided on his starting XI for matchday 20. “I’ve got a few different ideas in my head,” revealed the 49-year-old, who may well go with the same team that started last time out at Borussia-Park. “I might need to freshen things up and change the odd player though.”
Danny Latza (knee) and Marcin Kaminski (recovering from illness) remain unavailable, as do the long-term absentees Justin Heekeren, Sebastian Polter and Sepp van den Berg. The Dutch centre-back has been able to complete parts of team training this week and hasn’t had any issues. The coach currently doesn’t know when he will be able to make his return to action: “It’s hard to say right now if Sepp can make his comeback in two or three weeks. We’re taking things each day at a time.”