Going home with a good feeling despite a deserved defeat
It took a while for the Schalke players to be happy about progressing to the next round of the Champions League on Wednesday (28/11). “We wanted to put in a good away performance, but didn’t do so,” said Ralf Fährmann after the 3-1 defeat to FC Porto.
“We have to accept that they were better than on us on the night – therefore they deserved to win,” said the captain. Naldo was also frustrated, stating: “their first two goals were too soft from our perspective. Mistakes in the Champions League will invariably be punished.” Christan Heidel explained how he felt that the side was dominated by the hosts in the first twenty minutes of the second half. “We deservedly lost to a very strong Porto side. We can’t deny that they were the better side. A lot of good teams have lost here in past though,” commented the sporting director.
Heidel was quick to add that the Royal Blues wouldn’t be too distraught after the defeat. “We have still achieved our goal of reaching the last 16, something which is very important for Schalke 04,” said the 55-year-old. “We haven’t just qualified because Galatasaray lost in Moscow; we’ve qualified because we’ve already picked up eight points ourselves. Reaching the last 16 isn’t something decided by one game, we’ve achieved this after several good performances.”
Injury crisis up front
The fact that Schalke were already through to the knockout stages before their game had started, had no impact on the team’s performance. “The Galatasaray result was of no interest to me. I simply concentrated on my own game,” explained Naldo. Heidel also added: “This team isn’t capable of taking their foot of the gas.”
We haven’t just qualified because Galatasaray lost in Moscow; we’ve qualified because we’ve already picked up eight points ourselves.
One of the reasons for defeat was possibly the injury crisis the team is suffering up front. Mark Uth, Breel Embolo and Cedric Teuchert have been out injured for weeks and Guido Burgstaller also missed out in Porto due to an Achilles injury. Steven Skrzybski was also taken off due to a shoulder injury during the game and it still unclear what the damage is. “I’m not the kind of guy to complain a lot, but we have to be aware that we are now missing five strikers,” said Heidel, who also added: “I don’t want to use this as an excuse, but it definitely contributed to the fact that we were lacking that cutting edge up front.”
Rudy to meet former teammates
The main thing for the squad is to take the positives from the midweek game.” We are in the knockout stages of the Champions League, as one of the best 16 teams in Europe. This is a massive achievement and we’re certainly proud,” underlined Fährmann, who is expecting another difficult match with Hoffenheim on Saturday (1/12). Naldo also promised: “Hoffenheim are very good up front right now, but we will prepare properly and hope to get three points.”
The game in the Rhein-Neckar-Arena will be a special one for Schalke’s midfielder Sebastian Rudy. The midfielder played for Hoffenheim 195 times in the Bundesliga between 2010 and 2017. “I’m looking forwards to returning to my former home and it’ll be nice to see some familiar faces. I have very fond memories of my seven years in Hoffenheim,” said the Germany international. “Our goal is to win the game, although it won’t be easy. I still believe in us though!”