Both teams need a victory, especially Schalke with lousy 6 points in the Bundesliga after 9 fixtures. Their story is different in the Champions League where they have recently convinced at home against Benfica Lissabon and Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Coach Jupp Heynckes has approached the current situation with a lot of positive talk:
“I have seen one of the best games ever by my team in this formation. We saw 120 minutes high-speed and passionate football. I am confident that my players will recover physically and psychologically by Saturday. And I believe that we have a good chance to win against Schalke even if it will not be as easy as weeks before.”
“If we avoid the mistakes we made in the cup game but play with the same offensive pressure, we will create scoring opportunities again and score more than only one goal.”
“René Adler showed a world-class performance on Wednesday. He kept us in the game. That was his best game since I’m coach here at Bayer 04.”
He criticized with little intensity that we did not manage to maintain the 1-0 in the few minutes that were left and the unnecessary ball losses that lead to counter-attacks on Wednesday.
Club boss Wolfgang Holzhäuser had this to say about our elimination:
“Financially we only planned with the 2nd Round. But every Euro more increases our financial possibilities. By reaching the next Round we would have received 700.000-800.000 EUR extra in income.
It is sad that our team has put so much energy into this match and will now have to play 3 days later against Schalke”
Some fans classify these statements as typical for our comfort-zone. This was a term coined by Bruno Labbadia, who criticized that at Bayer 04 the sun always shines despite what happens. The players have an easy job as they are always shielded off criticism. Labbadia caused a lot of damage with these statements as he made them 24 hours before the DFB-Pokal Final in 2008 against Bremen. Instead of concentrating on this important match, the team was confronted with these headlines in the press. The coach was then fired after the lost final.
Of course it’s sometimes good that the coach protects the team from criticism. Van Gaal likes to criticize his team after victories and praise them after defeats. But some moderate criticism here and then would be also nice to see. It’s obvious that inside the club another tone is used.
The 4-2-2-2 formation will repeat against Schalke (if the above statements are not a show to confuse Magath). Sam and Rolfes should get back into the team. The question is whether Nicolai Jørgensen will get his chance from the beginning instead of Barnetta.
Line-up Schalke 04 (from Kicker):
Neuer – Uchida,Höwedes,Metzelder,Schmitz – Moritz – Farfan,Rakitic – Jurado – Raul,Huntelaar
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Goal by José Manuel Jurado in the DFB-Pokal this week
José Manuel Jurado @ Atletico Madrid last season
Huntelaar @ Schalke 04
Huntelaar @ Heerenveen/Ajax/Real Madrid/AC Milan
René Adler’s Bundesliga debut was against Schalke 04 in 2007. He has good memories of the Veltins Arena in general and will have the possibility to measure himself directly against Manuel Neuer, the current Nr.1 of Germany.
Let’s hope for 3 points tomorrow and a defense/midfield that convinces defensively. That we will score goals I have no doubt.