Ralf Fährmann: "Build on the fundamentals of last season"

Following ten days in China and two friendlies, Ralf Fährmann only has positive conclusions to draw. “That was an important building block. The trip allowed us to integrate the new players and we have become closer as a group. Now we need to start working hard again,” said the Royal Blue captain.

Two unforgettable Derbies, runners-up and a new club record for successive wins. Looking back at the statistics from last season gives the Royal Blues more than enough reason to celebrate. But for Ralf Fährmann, that’s no reason to rest on the laurels. The goalkeeper is warning of complacency. “Everyone played their part in a terrific season, but we cannot allow ourselves to make the mistake of saying that last year will just happen every season or believe that everything will just fall into place once more,” said the 29-year-old. “We must continue to develop ourselves.”

Final position shouldn't be the only hallmark of hard work

For the current Runners-up the level of expectation has risen, something that is not lost on Fährmann. The Schalke captain therefore sees it as vital to underline the performances of the last seaspn. “We fought so hard for every point and got the occasional rub of the green. Now we need to work on doing that again. “The clocks have been set back to nil. It will be a very big challenge. We have brought in some new faces but we know our opponents will be different and stronger too.“

Schalke’s number one wants to protect against a false dawn and ensure that the performances next season are not just treated individually of the respective positions in the table, but also not taken lightly and out of perspective. “We have to develop the fundamentals of last season,” said Fährmann.

„If we find the mix of playing as a team and individuals, then the re-building phase taking place at the club right now can continue.”

China Tour good for team bonding

The Royal Blues have been back in Germany following their ten day tour in China since Thursday July 12. As well as several training sessions Schalke also played Sputhampton and Hebei China Fortune in two friendlies.”That was an important building block. The training camps let us intergrate the new guys and we have become close as a group.“

The 29-year-old also praised the decision to have the China Tour at the beginning of thsi season’s preparations, giving more time to get to know the new boys, For the captain, the Tour was as much about team building as it was preparing physically for the new season – perhaps more so owing to the tough conditions,” said the keeper. “Even when it’s over 30 degrees and 80% humidity.”

After returning to Gelsenkirchen for this week, the boys will head to Mittersil between July 29th and August 6th), giving themselves plenty of time to prepare for the new season.

Good team mood

The captain still looks back at many lovely moments. The team visited the Great Wall of China, went on long cycle rides and enjoyed traditional Chinese food. “The most important moments are the ones we share together. That brings us closer,” said Fährmann.

The general mood in the team is good too. „We just have fun while we’re working, and we go into even the toughest tasks with positive energy. Fährmann again looked to last season, when the team indentified with being as one. “Every individual contributed to the team. We want to retain that for this year.”

Praise for Tedesco

Fährmann puts a large part of everything positive in the squad right now down to Domenico Tedesco. Everyone can feel that his enthusiasm is not artificial but genuinely real. “That doesn’t wear off. Every player is happy to have a coach that can bring some much to an individual.”

Asked about the emotional effects on the runners-up, Fährmann took the same line as his coach: “It can be a weight on your shoulders but it can be serious motivation. We will obviously go into next season with broad shoulders. The success did not come by chance, according to Fährmann. “We performed so well last season. But there was a lot of hard work behind that. And that’s exactly what applies now. We must work hard day in day out to get absolutely everything out of ourselves.”

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