Alessandro Schöpf: One of the best goals in my career

It had been over a year since Alessandro Schöpf’s last goal in a competitive match for FC Schalke 04, but he ended his drought at Bielefeld with what was probably the most beautiful goal of his career so far. The midfielder spoke to about his wonder strike, his fitness and reveals why everyone can learn something from the game at Arminia.

Alessandro Schöpf

Alessandro, you opened the scoring against Bielefeld in some style. Could you describe it from your perspective for us?

I got the ball and saw that there was a bit of space in front of me. I just thought I might as well try my luck and it was obviously a bit lucky that I caught it so well. If you don’t shoot, you don’t score!

That’s got to be the best goal you’ve scored in your professional career, right?

I don’t think I’ve ever scored from that far out before. It’s definitely up there with my best goals. Everything just went right. You don’t hit them like that every day.

It was your first goal since the start of last season. You’ve been struggling with injury problems since then and this is just the second time you’ve played a full 90 minutes. Are you back at 100% now?

There are still a couple more steps I need to take. I was out for a long time and there are still moments where I can tell I’m lacking some sharpness. It’s coming back with every minute I play and every training session I complete. The general rule is that you need as long as you were out for to get back to 100%. I enjoy every minute I play and always try my best. If I stay fit and healthy, the rest will follow.

It was a bit lucky that I caught it so well and it just flew into the top corner like that. But if you don’t shoot, you don’t score!

Alessandro Schöpf

The coach often changes up the formation to play a midfield diamond. Is that a system that suits you as an adaptable, hard-working midfielder?

I would say so because I can play in any position in a diamond. It is a system that works well for me but I am also capable of playing to my full potential in other setups because I am very adaptable.

The team dominated the game against Bielefeld for 70 minutes and played some extremely attractive football at times. Why did we fade away towards the end?

We lost control of the game at some point because we believed it was in the bag. We also had the Sinsheim game under control and then conceded two silly goals. It was similar on Tuesday. We can’t let that happen. The two goals we conceded at Bielefeld were down to individual mistakes that the coach showed us clips of. Suddenly, at 3-2, their fans came back into the game. Bielefeld almost always played it long up to Fabian Klos, who used his body well to hold up the ball. They all started to believe they could turn the game around.

David Wagner has emphasised that the team is still developing. Is an experience like this helpful?

We can learn a lot from this game. We can’t afford to make the kind of mistakes we made against Bielefeld back in the Bundesliga. They will be punished immediately at that level and the momentum will tilt out of our favour. I’m a player who is always looking to get forward and make the difference. We didn’t live up to our standards but we’re through to the next round and that’s what matters when it comes to the DFB-Pokal.

I can play in any position in a diamond. It is a system that works well for me but I am also capable of playing to my full potential in other setups because I am very adaptable.

Alessandro Schöpf

The team has been playing well in the Bundesliga but points have been dropped. What improvements need to be made in these matches?

We lacked precision in the final third and the determination to score against Hoffenheim. Nevertheless, we should try to focus on the positives. The fact we scored three times in one half at Bielefeld shows that we have we goals in us – and it could have been more. We want to build on that against FC Augsburg.

What type of match are you expecting at FCA?

It’s going to be a difficult game. We will need to play with heart. There will be tackles flying in and lots of second ball battles. That’s the Augsburg way. They are very physical and strong.


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