David Wagner: It was a typical friendly game
On Tuesday (07/01), five days after returning to training, FC Schalke 04 had a first friendly game to prepare for the second half of the season. The fact that the team lost 1-0 to Belgian first division side Sint-Truidense V.V. is not something head coach David Wagner wants to focus on too much.
“It was a typical friendly game. You could tell both teams had been busy over the last few days. The players all have room for improvement. But it would be weird if that wasn’t the case at this point in time,” says the boss. “Nevertheless, I was pretty pleased with our temp and intensity overall. Our pressing was good.” The 48-year-old believes his team’s main flaw was failing to create enough chances to score.
It’s also worth remembering that both Schalke teams (Wagner fielded a different team in each half) had never played together in their formations. “You could see that the structure wasn’t quite there and we left gaps,” explains Wagner. “But that’s normal. The guys put the effort in. And the most important thing is that nobody got injured.”
Unofficial Gregoritsch debut
The head coach was happy with new-signing Michael Gregoritsch‘s first appearance in Royal Blue. The loanee from FC Augsburg came on at half time. “He got stuck in, had a good free-kick attempt saved and had two other threatening moments,” says Wagner, before adding that his squad was previously lacking a type of player like Gregoritsch.
There were two reasons why Alexander Nübel didn’t play against Sint-Truidense V.V., one of which is that the keeper, who will miss the next two Bundesliga games through suspension, injured his thumb in training. “We also have to think about our next two games. If something happens to Schubi, it will be Michi who plays,” explains Wagner. Therefore, Markus Schubert and Michael Langer were in goal for a half each.
The team’s next friendly will take place on Friday (10/01) at 18:00 CET against Hamburger SV. Wagner has not yet decided if he will play a different side in each half of the match. However, he is planning to play Schubert in goal for the full 90 minutes.