Sascha Riether: I got a round of beers in for the lads!

Sascha Riether opted to watch Schalke’s win in Leverkusen from the away end with the fans. The 34-year-old talked to us about his afternoon in the BayArena, his role in the team and his future plans.

Sascha, how were the 90 minutes in Leverkusen for you?

Amazing. I was sat on the front row and was right next to the action on the pitch. The atmosphere was fantastic – especially as we played so well. The support was so loud I got goosebumps! Because it was so good, I got some beers in for the lads on the fence. They were delighted about that so they sung even louder! (smiles)

At this moment, Breel Embolo enters the room. He asks politely if he can sit down and listen. Of course, that wasn’t an issue for us.

Do you know all the words to the fans’ chants?

Sure you recognise lots of the songs from when you’re on the pitch and can hear them but it’s a bit different in the stands. There you can hear exactly what they’re saying which can certainly be eye-opening at times! (smirks)

Have you watched from the stands before in your career?

A few months ago, I was in the stands in Dortmund for the Revierderby. As you can imagine, the comeback in the second half was unbelievable.

Can you remember going to your first football game as a kid?

It was a SC Freiburg home game as that’s where I grew up but I can’t exactly remember who they were playing that day.

Breel Embolo listens to every word. The striker is almost 14 years younger than Sascha Riether and wasn’t even born at that time.

You’ve not packed in the football quite yet though. After you initially retired last summer, you rejoined the squad officially in October, training with the squad in the meantime. Were you getting itchy feet?

Schalke is a special club and I’m not saying that as we’re doing well at the moment and I’m part of the club. I truly think that. The two seasons between 2015 and 2017 here were great and therefore it’s an honour for me to be able to have the opportunity once again to extend my career. I travel to training everyday and give my all. It’s fun being part of this team.

It’s an honour for me to be part of FC Schalke 04

Sascha Riether

 What is your relationship like with Domenico Tedesco? Does he ask for your opinion sometimes?

We regularly share our ideas with one another as the head coach knows I’ve gathered a lot of experience in my career to date. However, I’m learning more and more every day working under Domenico Tedesco. With every training session, every team talk and every bit of analysis, I learn something.

You have 248 Bundesliga games on your CV to date. You’ve won the Bundesliga, represented your country and played in the Premier League. There’s not much more you could have done in your time. Do some of the younger players approach you for advice at times?

Of course that happens. Right Breel? Breel nods. I think lots of the younger lads prefer it when there are one or two experienced pros in the squad. Especially the younger ones who aren’t getting as much game time, they come looking for advice. In those moments, it’s important to keep the team as one. I think I’m of great use to the team in that way.

You’re continuing to work hard on the training pitch but you haven’t made an appearance yet this season. Will we see you in action in the Bundesliga or DFB-Pokal once more this season?

Sure, it would be great to reach 250 Bundesliga games but I know that there are no special requests in football. I give my all in every training session. If I’m needed, I’m there to be called upon. However, I’m still happy for the team’s wins even if I don’t get chance to be a part of them.

What are your plans this summer? Have you got an idea of what you want to do when you retire from playing?

I want to keep doing things related to football. I’m planning on doing my coaching badges. Who knows whether I can end up coaching Breel Embolo one day! (smiles)

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