David Wagner: We’ll take on the challenge
FC Schalke 04 will welcome Bayern Munich to the VELTINS-Arena on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the DFB-Pokal. “We know we’re underdogs,” said David Wagner when asked who he thought the favourites were going into the tie. But the Schalke head coach also added: “Sometimes it works in your favour though, knowing that you simply never know what’s going to happen in any given game.”
It’s going to be a difficult game and the team know that going in. “But we’ll take on the challenge,” said the 48-year-old, who had more bad luck heading into the previous game against Cologne. Omar Mascarell is now out for the season after suffering an adductor tear, with Suat Serdar also suffering an injury which will keep him out for a while.
As if that wasn’t enough, Ozan Kabak was also taken to hospital after a collision in the game against Cologne. The central defender fell on his back after jumping up for a header against Jhon Cordoba and suffered a severely bruised pelvis which will definitely keep him out for the game against Bayern. Kabak has therefore been added to the growing list of injuries which already contains a quartet of Benjamin Stambouli (rehab training), Salif Sane (rehab training after knee operation), Daniel Caligiuri (knee injury) and Juan Miranda (calf injury).
Bayern is always a difficult challenge but it’s a Pokal game, and we’re at home.
“In the past few weeks we’ve had several players go out with injury, and everyone knows that has affected our performance on the pitch. It’s impossible to have some consistency in your performance when you constantly have to make changes. Then when you add to that the fact that we haven’t been taking or creating many chances, it leaves you in a difficult situation,” said the coach. “But it can happen to anyone, we just have to take on this challenge and take responsibility for our performances.”
Plenty of space on the team bus
Wagner emphasised, that “the team has been fantastic in the DFB-Pokal so far, producing three great performances on the road to reaching the quarterfinals. Now we will go into this game and give it everything we’ve got. Bayern is always a difficult challenge but it’s a Pokal game, and we’re at home.”
The coach will decide exactly what lineup he’ll go with after the final training session. “We’ll have to see how some of the players do in that session because they’ve played so many minutes recently. If we rotate though, it’s got nothing to do with the upcoming game against Hoffenheim,” said Wagner. “In terms of personnel, we don’t have too many alternatives because of our injury list. There’ll be plenty of space on the team bus when we head to the stadium.” When all is said and one though, Wagner will still have enough of a squad to make it a competitive game on Tuesday.