Pre-season begins under special circumstances
FC Schalke 04’s preparations ahead of the new season began on Monday afternoon (3/8). The session at the Parkstadion came in special circumstances, with no fans able to attend training due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Schalke TV put on a live stream for all the fans on youtube.com/s04, with Sascha Riether co-commentating. “We are all pleased that things are back underway,” said the coordinator between players and coaching staff. The 37-year-old also reported that the mood in camp was positive ahead of training. “I could sense in the changing rooms that the lads are all desperate to have a good season.”
All Covid-19 tests negative
A few internal performance tests were carried out a couple of days prior to the first training session. As well as that, all players and coaches were tested twice for Covid-19, with all the results coming back negative. The players and coaching team will continue to be regularly tested.
Both Omar Mascarell and Salif Sané couldn’t take part in team training. They both worked individually as they continue their recovery from injury.
A number of returnees
Former U19s players Can Bozdogan and Malick Thiaw, who both made their Bundesliga debutlast season, were part of the training group, as well as five players who have returned from their respective loan spells away from the club. Sebastian Rudy (32 games for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim) and Mark Uth (involved in 11 goals in 15 games for 1. FC Köln after the winter break) both impressed during their time away. Hamza Mendyl was also a regular at FCO Dijon in France, although their season was cancelled early after the coronavirus pandemic. Steven Skrzybski spent the second half of the season at Fortuna Düsseldorf, but couldn’t help them avoid relegation from the Bundesliga.
The fifth player to return back to Gelsnekirchen was Ralf Fährmann. The goalkeeper had already been back in training before the summer break after uncertainties over his move to SK Brann Bergen after Norway hadn’t decided when their season would resume and he would have returned to Schalke on 1st July anyway.
Another S04 player who was away on loan during last season was Nabil Bentaleb. The Algerian didn’t take part in training as he still on holiday. The midfielder was still playing for Newcastle United in the Premier League just over a week ago. The final matchday in England took place on 26th July, which was around a month later than the Bundesliga’s concluding round of fixtures.
Training sessions to continue to be held without fans
The Royal Blues will train five more times in the coming days before they travel to Herzlake for a training camp on Friday (7/8). David Wagner’s team will play their first pre-season friendly in Emsland against VfL Osnabrück on Sunday (9/8).
The match against second-tier side Osnabrück, as well as all training sessions in Gelsenkirchen and Herzlake, will continue to be held without fans due to the pandemic. Schalke TV will still have a stream of the first friendly though – the exact kick-off time is yet to be decided.