Steven Skrzybski: I want to stay fit and break through
In the latter stages of the Hinrunde, Steven Skrzybski got going and showed his eye for goal. The 26-year-old has also had some recent joy in his private life. The striker discussed his 2018 with schalke04.de, focusing on his goal ratio, his relationship with the fans, the first game back against Wolfsburg and his dream of playing a Bundesliga away match at Union Berlin.
Steven, you had quite an eventful 2018. What was your personal highlight?
There were several. On a sporting level, the home game against 1. FC Nürnberg was my favourite moment. To score two goals and win 5-2 at home on my debut was like a dream. There was also the amazing tifo display in the VELTINS-Arena – everything about this day was great. Away from football, getting married was definitely my highlight of the year.
You married your long-term girlfriend Anja just after Christmas. Did you have a big party?
Initially we went to the registry office with just our families, but we did have a large party with around 80-90 guests afterwards. It was a lovely evening and some of our friends got quite wild, although I was very responsible!
Everything about my Bundesliga debut was great.
You didn’t have time to go on a honeymoon as we had the training camp in Benidorm…
We will do it another time, although we haven’t booked anything yet.
Where do you fancy going?
We have never been to America, so that could be a nice choice. Maybe we will go somewhere else, we will just have to wait and see.
Is your wife a football fan?
She never paid much attention to football before we got together, whereas now she always supports me when I am playing.
That brace against Nürnberg was so special for you. How often have you discussed that day with your friends and family?
A lot of my friends watch the game, but I have rarely had as many messages as I had that evening. Everybody was so pleased for me, especially as they knew that I was a fan of Schalke even before signing for the club.
What did you do with your shirt from that match?
It has a special place at my house. I couldn’t give it away or swap it – it will always remind of that day.
And what did you do with your shirt from your Champions League debut in Istanbul?
I gave that to my best friend.
During the interview Bastian Oczipka has come in and states that he thinks Steven Skrzybski is so calm in front of goal, just like Ulf Kirsten used to be for Leverkusen.
That is a massive compliment from Basti! Ulf Kirsten was the top scorer in the Bundesliga on three occasions.
I don’t think I will comment on that! (laughs)
Your goal ratio is very impressive though. You have scored three goals in just 264 minutes in the Bundesliga, as well as an assist. How frustrating has it been to miss so much football due to injuries?
Obviously missing games is very annoying. You don’t plan injuries; they are just a part of sport. During those times you need to grow as a person and learn things. I hope that I can stay fit for the whole of 2019.
The most important thing is my health.
Have you set yourself any specific goals for the year? For example a certain amount of goals?
Nope, that’s something I have never done. I think that doing that kind of thing is counterproductive for you performances. The most important thing is my health. I can only play if I am fit and when I am playing, I have chances to score.
The second half of the season starts in a week, as we host VfL Wolfsburg in the VELTINS-Arena.
I’m looking forward to the game, and we absolutely want to win. The Wolves had a good Hinrunde, but our only goal for the game is three points. We want to start the second half of the season with a good result and pick up points every week. We can’t be satisfied with what we’ve done so far.
The fans see it the same way. Did you get any feedback from the fans in Benidorm?
Every Schalke fan had different expectations from the first half of the season, that’s clear. Lots of fans have said to the team and myself personally that they believe in us. That’s a nice feeling. We want to repay this trust with good performances on the pitch.
Various social media platforms make fans a part of your life. Do you read comments on Facebook and Instagram?
I look at what the fans write. At the end of the day, I’m interested in what they have to say. When it’s critical, it’s usually fair and not offensive. However, I haven’t had to read too many negative comments under my posts in the past few weeks and months.
Fans of your former club Union Berlin often write nice messages to you. They’re currently fighting for promotion up from the 2. Bundesliga. Do you dream of facing them next season with Schalke?
That would be massive. I’m crossing my fingers that they get promoted. Unfortunately we couldn’t achieve it whilst I was there, but we came close once. Hopefully they’ll do it this time!