Dimitrios Grammozis: Play well, make the next round
In the first round of this year’s DFB-Pokal, there will be a repeat of the 2016/17 clash between FC 08 Villingen and FC Schalke 04. Five years ago, the Royal Blues won 4-1 to book their place in the second round.
Head coach Dimitrios Grammozis would like a repeat of that day this time around. “We want to play well and reach the next round,” said the boss, who described the DFB-Pokal as “an exciting and great competition,” which he is really excited about.
Despite three leagues separating both sides, the 43-year-old won’t be underestimating the opponent. Together with his coaching team, Grammozis has done plenty of analysis on the fifth-tier outfit. “Villingen look to play good football and play it out from the back. You can clearly see the way their coach wants them to play,” reported Grammozis. He added: “We want to show that we’re the side from a higher division.”
We want to show that we’re the side from a higher division.
There will be 4,992 fans in the MS Technologie-Arena, including over 1,000 Schalker, who will be travelling to an away game to cheer on the Knappen for the first time in almost 18 months. “We’re excited and the fans are too. We want to play well for them and give them a performance to enjoy,” commented Grammozis.
Excitement over the Zalazar signing
Rodrigo Zalazar could make his Schalke debut in Villingen on Sunday. The Uruguayan, who joined from Eintracht Frankfurt this week, has impressed Grammozis in training so far. “He’s in good shape,” reported the coach, who wouldn’t say whether or not Zalazar would feature before the final training session. One thing to remember is that Zalazar has fewer training sessions under his belt this summer, given that Eintracht Frankfurt began their pre-season later due to the Bundesliga kicking off after the second division.
Grammozis already holds his new player in high esteem: “I knew about Rodrigo during my time in charge of Darmstadt 98, but unfortunately we weren’t able to sign him, which is why it’s even nicer to have him as part of the team now. I would like to take this opportunity to praise sporting director Rouven Schröder and his team for managing to complete this transfer.”
Fährmann back in training
S04’s head coach hasn’t made other squad decisions regarding other positions either. “We won’t use this game to rotate or experiment, although we may well make some changes.” One change could be in goal, with Ralf Fährmann returning to team training this week after spending 14 days in isolation due to testing positive for Covid-19. “He is in better shape than we thought after the break,” revealed Grammozis, who wants to make his choice after the final training sessions. “I named Ralle as my number one at the start of the season. If he’s 100% fit, he’ll stay as number one.”
Michael Langer is unlikely to feature in Sunday’s cup game. The Austrian, who started the first two league games of the season in Fährmann’s absence, suffered a mild concussion after a collision in training on Wednesday (4/8). “He will probably miss out,” confirmed the coach. Aside from Langer, all other players who were in the squad for the 3-0 win at Kiel last time out are fit. Malick Thiaw actually came off in that game, although he should rejoin team training before Sunday’s trip to Baden-Württemberg. “I’m confident regarding Malick. We won’t take any risks though.”