Rouven Schröder: We need to bring our strengths to the pitch
Sporting director Rouven Schröder spoke to the press on Thursday, discussing various topics around the FC Schalke 04 squad. Amongst other things, Schröder spoke about the previous game against Jahn Regensburg, the upcoming game with Fortuna Düsseldorf, and the current situation in the transfer market.
“We aren’t happy with four points from four games,” said Schröder. This feeling shouldn’t need repeating, “because we expected this from the start,” he continued, safe in the knowledge that the start of the season could be difficult due to changes to the squad. “On the other hand, as I said after the Regensburg game, it’s still no excuse as we have all the quality we need to get us through the season,” the sporting director explained. “We are ambitious and hungry for success. That means we will need to improve our game on Saturday,” said the former Bundesliga player ahead of the game against Fortuna (Saturday 20:30 CEST), where 25,000 fans will be expecting three points.
This club is a very emotional one, and that’s why we all chose Schalke.
It will be important to keep a cool head during this weekend’s game. “We need to be able to handle stress, especially in moments where it isn’t going as planned,” said Schröder, who was able to draw something positive from the disappointing game at Regensburg. “After the match, the away fans gave us a lot of support. That’s the kind of thing we need to bounce off of,” explained the sporting director. “This club is a very emotional one, and that’s why we all chose Schalke. I can sense the players’ will to play for this club in every single discussion I’ve had with them,” Schröder went on, making clear that this emotion can be felt from both sides. “It’s clear that if we aren’t successful we get caught up in the defeat. We have to overcome that – it’s a learning process.”
Self-criticism of the performance in Regensburg
A positive aspect of the Regensburg defeat was the way in which the squad analysed themselves. “I have had a good impression of the squad in the last week, as the lads have been critical of themselves,” said Schröder. “That is a really important sign – everybody cares.” As well as the squad, head coach Dimitrios Grammozis has been “very clear, focused and determined. That’s what you want to see from a Schalke coach,” the sporting director said.
The team has the chance to play attractive and active football with this newly put-together squad. “We are ambitious and know the strengths of our squad. Now it’s our job to get that strength out onto the pitch as quickly as possible,” said Schröder. “However, we expect more from ourselves,” he added. The home game against Aue was a source of satisfaction for the sporting director. “It’s important for us to be active and find our way through. We want to be variable, but we haven’t seen that enough yet.”
Schröder on Harit, Kabak, Bozdogan, Hoppe and former star McKennie
The sporting director then moved onto current activities in the transfer market. Amine Harit and Ozan Kabak are likely to leave the club. “We want to negotiate their moves as much as the players, their representatives and certain other clubs do,” he said. Giving an insight into his work, Schröder explained that Turkish champions Besiktas are in the process of signing Can Bozdogan, but there are still some steps to go. Furthermore, he explained that the Royal Blues will receive a sell-on fee from Juventus if former player Weston McKennie completes a transfer to another club.
Another realistic scenario is the selling of Matthew Hoppe. “We have been open to offers from the start,” explained Schröder. “We are thankful that Matthew has done well in training this week. We’ve focused on certain things in training to do with duels, aggression and passion – he’s combined this with his desire to score goals and left a strong impression.”