Alessandro Schöpf: Deserve to be second
After the weekend's win in Augsburg, the party began. schalke04.de spoke to Alessandro Schöpf about the team's celebrations, this season's success, his former club's promotion and the final home game of the season versus Eintracht Frankfurt.
Alessandro, courtesy of the win in Augsburg, you didn’t only achieve qualification for the Champions League but also secured second place in the Bundesliga. How long did you celebrate for when you got home?
It went on for quite some time – same for many others! We all ate together and then a lot of us went on. Second place is a great success for us and one we can be proud of as a team. It’s a great feeling, having something to celebrate.
Did you expect to be celebrating second place by the final whistle in Augsburg with a game to go?
I was convinced we’d win the game but it was a surprise to see results go our way and our competitors fail to pick up points. The experience after the final whistle was amazing.
The day after the game, the weekend was crowned by 1. FC Nürnberg getting promoted. You were there for two and a half years and moved to Schalke, benefitting from the close relationship between the clubs. Did you have your fingers crossed for your former teammates?
Absolutely. I’m glad the club is back in the Bundesliga. Two years ago, FCB got close but were defeated in the play-offs by Frankfurt. Now, they’re ready for Bundesliga football again. They have a great team and I believe they’re capable of staying up.
Have you been in touch with any of their players since the promotion?
I wrote a message to all the players I know right away but I haven’t spoken on the phone with any of them on the phone yet – they’re probably still celebrating!
Back to Schalke: Last season ended with a tenth placed finish. How has such an upswing this season come about?
We’ve worked hard in every single game and had to show our mental strength in many close games. We go out every game to give our all and that’s led to our success. We’re right at the top. You can’t do that over the course of the season purely through luck.
You’re one of the players in the squad who can play in several positions. Where would you say your preferred position is?
I just want to help out the team. That’s the underlying factor regardless of whether I’m on the left, right or in the middle. The most important thing is that I can play at all.
We have a score to settle with Frankfurt.
On the closing day of the season, we face Eintracht Frankfurt. They’re still fighting for a place in the Europa League while you’re already second…
… and despite that we still want to win the game. We have nothing to lose and have a score to settle after the DFB-Pokal semi-final. The way we missed out on the final was very unfortunate.
How much are you looking forward to a break this summer?
I can’t quite put my feet up yet. After the final day of the club season, there are still three international friendlies against Germany, Brazil and Russia. It’s a shame that we won’t be at the World Cup.