Karel Geraerts: “Everyone knows how important these last eight matches are”

FC Schalke took on FC Gütersloh in a friendly on Wednesday evening (20/3) with a mixture of senior players and youth talents in the squad. The Royal Blues ran out as 1-0 winners in a dominant display at the Ohlendorf Stadion, but let a lot of big chances go begging.

Six senior players were named in Karel Geraerts’ starting XI, including Assan Ouédraogo, who made his comeback against Hertha BSC last Sunday (17/3). The 17-year-old played around 75 minutes of the match and netted the winning goal with a stunning strike that nestled in the top-right corner from just outside the box. “I’m really happy that he’s fit again,” said Geraerts after the game. “He scored a fantastic goal. It’s exactly why we rate him so highly – he has the ability to beat his man one-on-one and then finish like that.”

The Belgian explained that it’s important for Ouédraogo to settle back into a rhythm after spending a long spell on the sidelines. “You can see that he needs the minutes in order to get back to his best. He’ll really benefit from fully training with us up until the game against Karlsruhe,” added Geraerts.

Fully focused on the final stretch

Schalke’s head coach viewed the match against Gütersloh very objectively in his post-match interview. “It was a classic friendly,” stated Geraerts, who was pleased with his team’s performance. The 42-year-old noted that the U23s were always going to play with a lot of energy, while the senior pros, who have not had much gametime recently, also put in good shifts. Geraerts went on to say that his decision about who will play in the remaining competitive games this season is going to be based on how the players perform in training and in matches. Geraerts stressed that he’s going to need every single player ahead of the final set of games this season.

The Royal Blues’ coach added that it’s important for his side to believe that they can win every game and then use this confidence to boost their performances – “not just at home, but also when we’re on the road. We’ve got eight games left this season. Everyone here knows just how important these matches are.”

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