The Royal Blues’ pre-World Cup friendlies

The World Cup is fast approaching. To warm up and find their form ahead of the tournament, which gets underway on 14th June, the countries taking part have several friendly fixtures coming up. The final World Cup squads must be submitted to FIFA by 4th June. Leon Goretzka, Breel Embolo, Amine Harit, Matija Nastasic und Marko Pjaca are the current Schalke players to have been named in their respective countries’ preliminary World Cup squads.

Goretzka to come up against two teammates

Germany will contest friendlies against Austria (2nd June) and Saudi Arabia (8th June). Leon Goretzka will come up against two fellow Royal Blues in the former fixture, namely Guido Burgstaller und Alessandro Schöpf. Austria will also face World Cup hosts Russia (30th May) and record World champions Brazil (10th June).

Breel Embolo

Breel Embolo and the Switzerland team will face two countries which are also taking part in the World Cup, namely Spain (3rd June) and Japan (8th June). Switzerland have been in strong form recently and picked up 27 of a possible 30 points in the qualifiers for the tournament. Nevertheless, the team had to go into the play-offs because group opponents Portugal also managed the same points tally, but had a better goal difference. Embolo and Co. beat Northern Ireland in both legs of the play-off.

Showdown between Harit and Konoplyanka

Amine Harit has three friendlies on his plate before the World Cup begins. The Moroccan forward will face Yevhen Konoplyanka and Ukraine along with Morocco (31st May). Morocco will also get some practice in against Slovakia (4th June) and Estonia (9th June). Ukraine, who won’t be taking part in the World Cup, will play one other friendly match against Albania (2nd June).

Yevhen Konoplyanka

It is unlikely that Matija Nastasic will be able to play against Chile for Serbia (4th June). The defender will be accompanying his country and will continue his rehab programme after the knee injury he picked up in April. He has been named in the preliminary World Cup squad and the 25-year-old remains hopeful of playing in Russia.

Outgoing S04 player against new signing

Marko Pjaca, the fifth Schalke player to be taking part in the upcoming World Cup, will play with his Croatia side against Brazil (3rd June) and Senegal (8th June). The latter match could see a direct duel between Pjaca, who will be returning to Juventus after his loan ends, and new Schalke signing Salif Sané. The Senegalese player moved from Hannover 96 to the Royal Blues.

There are three post-season friendlies on the programme for Weston McKennie. The US men’s XI, who surprisingly missed out on qualifying for the World Cup, will play against Bolivia (28th May), Ireland (2nd June) and France (9th June). Nabil Bentaleb also has two games ahead of him before his holidays. Schalke’s number 10 and the Algeria team will face Cape Verde (1st June) and European champions Portugal (7th June).

The games at a glance:

Nabil Bentaleb
Algeria – Cape Verde, 1st June, 23:00, Location to be confirmed
Portugal – Algeria, 7. June, 21:15, Lisbon

Guido Burgstaller and Alessandro Schöpf
Austria – Russia, 30.5., 20:45, Innsbruck
Austria – Germany, 2. June, 18:00, Klagenfurt
Austria – Brazil, 10. June, 16:00, Vienna

Breel Embolo
Spain – Switzerland, 3. June, 21:00, Villarreal
Switzerland – Japan, 8. June, 19:00, Lugano

Leon Goretzka
Austria – Germany, 2. June, 18:00, Klagenfurt
Germany – Saudi Arabia, 8. June, 19:30, Leverkusen

Amine Harit
Morocco – Ukraine, 31.5., 22:00, Geneva
Morocco – Slovakia, 4. June, 22:00, Geneva
Estonia – Morocco, 9. June, 18:00, Tallinn

Yevhen Konoplyanka
Morocco – Ukraine, 31.5., 22:00, Geneva
Albania – Ukraine, 2. June, Time and location to be confirmed

Weston McKennie
USA – Bolivia, 28.5., 18:30, Chester
Ireland – USA, 2. June, 15:00, Dublin
France – USA, 9. June, 15:00, Lyon

Matija Nastasic
Serbia – Chile, 4. June, 21:00, Graz

Marko Pjaca
Brazil – Croatia, 3. June, 16:00, Liverpool
Croatia – Senegal, 8. June, 14:00, Osijek

All kick-off times in respective local timezones