Dimitrios Grammozis: Good effort and intensity
After the 0-0 draw with Zenit St. Petersburg on Saturday (03/07), Dimitrios Grammozis took a largely positive view of the game against the Russian champions. The result was not the main concern for the Schalke head coach. Far more important was that the 42-year-old “saw a few things that we've worked on with the players in the days and weeks gone by. I'm pleased with the style and the way in which we presented ourselves.”
It was also important for the squad to come away from the game free of injuries. Grammozis gave minutes to a total of 20 players; only defenders Timo Becker and Malick Thiaw remained on the bench. After plenty of upheaval in recent weeks, the coach thinks that it is vital for the team to get used to playing with one another quickly, and to find that natural rhythm to their game. On the flip side, however, that doesn’t mean that the team that started against Zenit will be the preferred eleven for the league opener against Hamburger SV. “In training every player has the chance to show what he can do,” said Grammozis, who praised the good work that his team has done so far in preseason.
Fan support feels great
Grammozis was also pleased that play was hardly interrupted after making seven changes in the 63rd minute. “The young players put in a great shift in the second half, I liked that a lot.” One of the substitutes even had the best chance to win the game, but Marvin Pieringer was unable to convert a penalty in the 65th minute. It was a team performance, though, and nobody was pointing the finger.
We’re at a stage right now where we're not necessarily too fresh, but I told the lads before the game that they had to grit their teeth and get through it.
The effort across the 90 minutes was good to see and so there was applause from the fans for the draw come the final whistle. “Before the game, I told the lads that they had to grit their teeth despite the heavy workload in recent days,” said Grammozis. “We’re at a stage right now where we’re not necessarily too fresh. The intensity and the willingness to run were both good. I think the fans in the stadium could see that too. It was a nice feeling to hear the support from the stands. When you come out of the dressing room, see the full stands and hear the fans – it’s a great feeling.”
With less than three weeks until opening day in the Bundesliga 2, the Royal Blues will continue working hard towards the big kick-off. The next friendly match will take place on Friday (09/07), with Schalke taking on Ukrainian runners-up Shakhtar Donetsk. The game will kick off at 18:00 CEST at the Stadion Mittersill before the squad returns to Gelsenkirchen the following day.