Strong nerves and a bit of luck
It was intense and dramatic – but ultimately S04 had the luck on their side. The Royal Blues defeated 1. FC Köln 6-5 on penalties on Wednesday (31/10) in the second round of the DFB-Pokal. Alexander Nübel was happy with the result and Christian Heidel is now hoping for a boost for the next few Bundesliga games.
“Hopefully this game can free us up a bit and give us a push in the right direction,” said Heidel after the cup battle in the RheinEnergieSTADION. The Schalke sporting director felt the game was an even one, like the majority of spectators. “Köln did their job very well,” he praised the team top of the 2. Bundesliga. “In the end we had luck on our side.”
Uth relieved, then strong-nerved
Mark Uth was a happy man in extra time, as he could have easily seen a second yellow card from referee Harm Osmers. “I had completely forgotten that I had already been booked,” explained Uth. “After handballing it, I couldn’t have complained if I’d been shown another yellow card and been sent off,” admitted the Germany international.
Uth was then later able to take the seventh and final penalty for Schalke, scoring it to send them through. “I obviously had imagined my first goal for Schalke a bit differently”, said the Köln-born man. “But it’s nice to be able to help the team out.”
Nübel guesses right
Alexander Nübel’s penalty save from former Schalke man Marco Höger was also an important moment in last night’s game. “I still remember how Marco Höger takes his penalties from training with him,” Nübel revealed. “Therefore I could guess where the ball was going to go.” The Schalke keeper, who had an error-free game, was excited for the penalty shootout. “Every keeper looks forward to a penalty shootout,” explained Nübel.
We have two excellent keepers.
The 22-year-old, who is deputising for captain Ralf Fährmann, has now played four times in a row, playing well in every game. “Alex’s performances haven’t surprised us he trains well every day,” said Heidel. “It’s very important to have two good goalkeepers, which we thankfully have,” commented the sporting director. Heidel is confident that his team will kick on from the Köln victory and start moving up the Bundesliga table.
Improve our counter attacks
In order to start moving up the table, the team will hope to win the next Bundesliga game against Hannover 96 on Saturday (3/11, 15:30 CET) in the VELTINS-Arena. Head coach Domenico Tedesco is hoping that a big flaw from the previous game will be ironed out. “Our counter attacks were very poor. If we can improve those, we could start scoring three or four goals in a game,” knows the 33-year-old. Mark Uth also agreed: “We didn’t break with much success and didn’t play the final ball well enough. We need to improve on this in future games.”
The players and officials at the club are all sure that the team are on the right path. “We fought well and played with passion, something which Schalke stands for. These are the virtues which we based last season on,” said Alex Nübel. “Now we are going in the right direction and will carry on working to get more points,” said a convinced S04 keeper. Hopefully this Saturday.