Huub Stevens: Stick together and get to the next round

The last match of the calendar year sees FC Schalke 04 go up against SSV Ulm 1846 in the second round of the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday (22/12, 18:30 CET). The match will be held in the VELTINS-Arena after Schalke and the German Football Association agreed to Ulm’s request to have the game moved. Interim head coach Huub Stevens has a clear aim on Tuesday: “We want to progress to the next round!”

Huub Stevens im Training

The Dutchman says that every win will give the team new energy and confidence in this difficult period. “It’s normal to struggle mentally after a long winless run,” explains the 67-year-old. He says the key is to stick together and get out of the situation as a group. “Just berating the team doesn’t help. If you do that, you erode the trust that’s there.”

Just berating the team doesn't help. If you do that, you erode the trust that's there.

Huub Stevens

Stevens demands one thing from his side when they go up against Ulm, who reached the second round after beating FC Erzgebirge Aue 2-0: the team must give everything from the first second to the last. “The effort was there against Bielefeld, but we made some mistakes,” says Stevens on the 1-0 loss against Arminia. “Bielefeld profited from our errors, whereas we weren’t able to capitalise on their mistakes.” The Dutchman wasn’t happy with the key moments in the game. “We have to do better – offensively and defensively,” says Stevens.

Question marks on Mascarell and Kabak

The head coach describes Ulm as a side that can play long balls but are also dangerous on the counter. “They play a 4-4-2 diamond formation, have two good strikers and try to play good football,” explains Stevens.

There are some question marks on player availability. As well as those who have been injured for a while, Nassim Boujellab will be absent. Question marks remain on the captain and Ozan Kabak. “We’ll have to wait for some more test results with Omar Mascarell. We’ll also have to wait and see whether Ozan Kabak is fit,” says the coach. Whoever starts against Ulm, Stevens says one thing is important: “The team that plays against Ulm must give everything they have.”


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