David Wagner: Putting what we’ve practiced into action against Norwich
FC Schalke 04 are set for their first big opponent in Friday night’s (18:30 CEST) friendly. The Royal Blues will face recently promoted Premier League side Norwich City in the FRIMO Stadion in Lotte. “They are a really good English club, one that always moves between the Premier League and the Championship,” head coach David Wagner said about the upcoming opponent.
“They have a strong fan base and the stadium is always sold out, no matter if they’re playing in the first or second division,” said the 47-year-old, who got to know the Canaries well during his time in England.
A reunion with Fährmann and Pukki
For many fans it will be an unusual sight to see Ralf Fährmann standing in the opposing goal. The 30-year-old moved on loan to the recently promoted Premier League side just a few weeks ago and will play against the Royal Blues for the first time since his stint with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Fährmann is not the only former Schalke player in the squad for the English side. Teemu Pukki played for Schalke from 2011 to 2013, scoring eight Bundesliga goals during that time. Since then, the 29-year-old striker has become a key figure within Norwich City’s squad. Last season, Pukki scored 29 goals and was voted the Championship’s best player. Josip Drmic, Moritz Leitner and Timm Klose are a few other familiar faces from the Bundesliga that play for the northeastern club, who also have a German head coach in Daniel Farke.
Every friendly helps develop the team
After six training sessions, the friendly against Norwich marks the end of the short training camp in Herzlake. As a result, David Wagner is expecting his team to deliver a strong performance. “We’re going in having just finished training and it would be nice to see what we’ve been practicing the last few days be put into action during the match,” he said ahead of the match. Wagner stressed that every friendly helps develop the team further, “as we pick up new experiences and information that we can then further work on.”
If all the players remain injury-free after the match then I’ll be happy.
It will be “a good test against a strong opponent,” said the head coach, who has one clear wish for the match. Wagner: “If all the players remain injury-free after the match then I’ll be happy.”