Taking the positives into the rest of pre-season
After six training sessions in Herzlake and the 2-1 friendly defeat to Norwich City on Friday evening (19/7) in Lotte, the Royal Blues have returned home to Gelsenkirchen. The team will continue working hard before the next training camp in Mittersill (26th July – 3rd August).
“We got the training conditions we had wanted, and everybody stayed fit,” said a satisfied David Wagner. The conditions in Herzlake could hardly have been any better. With pleasant temperatures and perfect pitches, the team was able to carry on preparing for the new season perfectly. Despite suffering a first defeat of pre-season again Norwich, there were several positives to take from the game. “I saw a few things that I wanted to, but we still have a lot to work on,” explained Wagner after the game.
Players and management already working well together
The past few days have seen the side focus on pressing and counter situations. “Apart from the final 15 minutes, we had done what we’d worked on well. Unfortunately, we made too many individual errors which ultimately led to their goals,” commented Wagner. It’s likely that the mistakes were partly down to the intense training sessions, “but we still have to ensure that cut them out now.”
Omar Mascarell was in agreement with his new coach: “It’s normal to make mistakes during pre-season. Thankfully we still have time to work on things.” The Spaniard is also looking forward to the style of play that S04 will look to implement ahead of the new season. “We pressed really well. The route to goal is a lot shorter when you press them high up the pitch.” Mascarell also feels that the side are getting to know the new coaching team very quickly. “We’re all happy with the work we’re doing together. We’re always happy to try and improve ourselves – which we need to do,” added Mascarell, who also welcomes the intense training sessions, as “they will ensure that we are 100% ready for the DFB-Pokal game”.
We’re still nowhere near being satisfied, although it would be completely wrong if we were.
The squad have now reached the halfway point of pre-season, with the first round of the DFB-Pokal against SV Drochtersen-Assel (10/8) now only three weeks away. “We’re still nowhere near being satisfied, although it would be completely wrong if we were. We know we can do things better,” revealed Wagner after the game with Norwich, who left Ralf Fährmann out of their squad.
The goalkeeper, who recently left Schalke on loan for Norwich, was still excited to see his former teammates and hoped “that there will be another chance to do so during the season.” Teemu Pukki also enjoyed the reunion. “I had a nice time at Schalke and it’s nice to be recognised by the fans. It meant a lot to me,” revealed the striker, who scored the first goal for the English side on Friday night.
The second half of pre-season begins
Schalke’s next friendly will take place on Tuesday (23/7, 19:00 CEST) in the Netherlands against Twente. Wagner can then expect a number of players to re-join his squad, “who we can expect to add a new impetus, although they need to be fit and healthy to do that.” Mark Uth, Daniel Caligiuri and Alessandro Schöpf all took some part in team training in Herzlake after their injuries. Ozan Kabak continued to train individually after his foot problem. Suat Serdar and Alexander Nübel have also both returned after their exploits with the Germany U21s. Weston McKennie (Gold Cup with the US) and Salif Sané (Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal) will return at a later date after both reaching the final of their respective international tournaments.