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FC Schalke 04 - Joining the Big Boys

Started on 19 March 2020 by Joe
Latest Reply on 22 March 2020 by Joe
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A new era dawns at Schalke 04


Schalke play their home games at the 62,271 seater VELTINS Arena

FC Schalke 04 have today announced the departure of manager David Wagner, with unknown young coach Joe Smith stepping in in his place. Wagner agreed a deal back in May having been sacked by Huddersfield Town in January 2019, but decided to resign from his position ahead of the new season following the decision to spend more time at home with his family.

The decision by both Wagner and the board have left fans of the club irate at the idea of changing managers again before the season starts. Many have been calling on some board members to follow Wagner out the door and step down from their positions. Meanwhile, the appointment of Smith has left many fans baffled on social media, with many fans complaining that their club are going backwards whilst rivals Borussia Dortmund continue to challenge Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

Smith will be taking over a Schalke side that struggled to make their mark last season, finishing 14th in the Bundesliga, whilst also crashing out of the Champions League Last 16 in an ugly 10-2 encounter with Manchester City.
Good luck mate.
2020-03-19 20:24#267781 ScottT : Good luck mate.

Cheers mate!
Got some good players at the club and Germany always has good money coming in so will be interesting to see how you change the club over the season's
leckuno: Cheers mate, fingers crossed

The First Day



Well, where do I begin? A truly whirlwind few days for me. Out of nowhere, I’ve ended up with one of the biggest jobs in Germany - a place where I am massively out of my depth. But how did this all come about I hear you ask?

Born in London, I always grew up loving football. However, whilst most children my age wanted to be the next Ronaldinho, Gerrard or even Peter Crouch, my interest lay in the managerial and coaching side of things. I was fascinated by the tactics behind the famous teams that we watched week in, week out on TV. Watching managers such as Pep Guardiola tear other European giants apart with his brand of Tika-Taka (with a little help from a small Argentinian up front), or be it the grittier approach off Diego Simeone wearing teams down, all of them appealed to me.

Even before I left school I was helping coach at Hayes in the 6th tier of English football. This little experience, combined with the coaching badges that I was racing through meant I was building a stronger football CV. But how did I end up in Germany? That CV might well be impressive for a 20 year old, but it was hardly good enough for most League 2 sides, let alone a German team that played in the Champions League last season. The German connection came through a friend of mine from school. Now it might sound farfetched, but he grew up in a family of Schalke supporters, and his dad still lived and worked in Germany. The company his father worked for happened to do some business with the Schalke owner, and, naturally, they had a chat about their mutual interests.

Obviously, they’ve taken a massive gamble on choosing me, but in a year where the club has no European football to worry about and a young exciting squad, there really is not better time to give it a shot. Now that I’m here though, I need to get my feet under the table fast, because I really will be learning on the job. Even though expectations are lowered slightly because I’ve taken over, does not mean that I don’t intend to take this club back to where they belong, and to even further success.

Next: Squad Report
1

Squad Report



Goalkeepers



A good prospect who will be our first choice keeper this season. A shame that he will be leaving to join Bayern at the end of the year, but certainly good enough for us this year.


Again, another good young goalkeeper who can easily step in to the first team when needed. Will probably look to give him game time in cup games and other league matches, with a proper decision being made on his future next summer.

Overall Rating:

Happy with the Goalkeeper position for this season, although it will be one off the first things that will need addressing next summer. I will be looking at lining up potential replacements throughout the season.

Defenders



Probably the best of all my defenders, and with 3 years left on his contract he will probably be around for a few more years, unless we get offered something silly for him. Left-footed which is a bonus.


At 19 years old there’s still room for improvement, but Kabak will easily be able to do a job when called upon this season.


The first of a few players on loan at the club, Kenny offers a sensible option at right back. Whilst he probably won’t be starting, again he offers adequate cover if needed.


A really exciting young ball-playing centre back, again on loan at the club. Todibo looks a very impressive player, and hopefully having him fight for a starting role will help him up his game straight away.


Another strong ball-playing defender who will be fighting for a starting role. My only concerns are his mental stats, and at 28 years-old he is one of the highest earners at the club. A good offer might see him leave.


Another of our Barcelona loanees, Miranda looks to be a very well-rounded full-back. Will probably be our starter this season.


A solid option, but nothing more. At 30 years old, I may look to shift him on in order to bring in some more competition in the squad

Overall Rating:

Very happy with my centre-backs for this season, although both sides of the defence could be improved upon. Lacking depth as well, particularly as we will lose 3 of these players at the end of the season.

Midfielders



A solid defensive midfielder, who is also a natural at centre-back. Will probably be used as cover for both positions.


Whilst an option at right back, I see Caligiuri as playing more of a role further forward this season. Again, he is now 30 years old, and I might just be tempted to cash in on his high value.


A good player for us, without being spectacular. Highly rated by my coaching set up, I am unsure whether to maybe cash out with him, as AC Milan are currently sniffing around.


The highest earner at the club, Omar looks a good option in the middle of the park. Most likely to play a holding playmaker role, he is coming right into his prime, so hopefully we can make the most out off him.


A man that I will be looking to carry our midfield this season. He has lots of potential, and is already very well rounded for a 20 year old. Hoping he will be able to contribute with some more goals and assists.


Another good choice in midfield, without being fantastic going forward. Will probably end up with a starting role, although that could change depending on transfers.


A well rounded young player. May look to loan him out for some first team football, otherwise he will stay to provide backup.


One of the new arrivals at the club. A little one-dimensional based on his stats, but in the right system hopefully he can be a handy player. Can also play up front.


Slightly raw at this young age, but definitely potential there. Should definitely get some game time for the club this season, and hopefully he can really develop over the next few years.


Probably the best player in the team - certainly going forwards. Needs some work on his finishing, but if so he could be a very tidy creative midfielder.

Overall Rating:

Solid foundations in the middle of the park, although we do have quite a few similar players. Quality players out wide are a slight issue, whilst we could also do with a better midfield enforcer. Again depth is an issue here.

Attackers



Another of this season’s loanees. Provides us with a clinical finisher, who will likely get decent game time this season.


Not the most gifted technically, but a decent option nonetheless. Another that goes in the category of “time to cash in?”.


A quite well rounded forward for such a young age, however I don’t think he is good enough to start. May go out on loan to get first team football.

Overall Rating:

Not hugely happy with my options up front, and with depth being an issue all throughout the squad, we might need one or two quality strikers here.

Next: Pre-season
There are glimpses of talent in this squad but there's plenty of room for improvement.
ScottT: My thoughts exactly - definitely needs some improvement

Pre-Season Report


Amine Harit enjoys scoring during pre-season

It has been a bit off a mixed bag for us during pre-season to be completely honest. Already struggling with a small squad, we had our numbers cut even further by players returning late from their summer breaks, as well as with a few niggling injuries picked up as the players adjusted to the new training regimes. With a mix of lower league opposition, as well as a couple of more competitive games, we’ve been able to nail down a tactical system for the upcoming season. Based on the results, it is clear there is still work to be done, but it is starting to look as though the players are adapting.


As can be seen, there was only one defeat coming against Swiss opposition in the form of Luzern, who bagged an injury-time winner. There was the impressive dismantling of Brühl, with Rabbi Matondo bagging a hat-trick from the right wing, and we were unlucky not to beat Chelsea at home, dominating possession and not allowing them a single chance on out goal. I don’t particularly read much in to the pre-season, as there has been some turnover in players, and it has been more about training and implementing my tactics for the new season.

Transfers

Players Out



We have had 4 players leave the club so far this season. This was mostly done to cash in on players’ value before it started to depreciate. None of the players were really in position to start for the club, and to raise £32m to add to our small budget was vital in order to bring the quality of players that we have bought in. Burgstaller’s loan also includes an optional future fee of £7.5m, and with him likely having no future at the club, I hope that Burnley will take it up. With these players gone, we were arguably left even lighter in the wide positions than we already were, hence the signings that have been made.

Players In



The first signing to come into the club was Almada, signed for only £5.5m from Velez in Argentina. He is a technical attacking midfielder, with high levels of potential, and can hopefully help to provide us with the killer pass in the final third.


The biggest signing this summer, bringing with it all the baggage that Morelos brings. Known as El Buffalo from his time at Rangers, Morelos will hopefully come in and lead the line with his typical ferocity. Having fought off competition from rivals Dortmund to sign him, hopefully he will start scoring immediately to repay the club’s faith, having been signed for a deal rising to £23m.


The third signing of the summer came in the form of young Bosnian right-back Sivac. Although unlikely to see much game time this season, I will be looking to develop him, as our coaches reckon he can become a good right-back in the future. Comes with no real risk attached, as he was only signed for £235k.


Another big signing for the club, coming from the other side of Glasgow this time. Ajer joins for £21m from Celtic, and offers us some more quality defensively. A natural at both centre-back and central midfield, he can hopefully continue his development by taking us up the league.


Another loan signing coming into the club, Chong joins for the season from Manchester United. A natural attacking midfielder, Chong will add cover to team going forwards, and gives us another option of a left-footer playing on the right hand side.


Our second Argentine signing from Velez of the summer, Robertone joins for £6.5m. A well-rounded attacking midfielder, Robertone looks as though he will battle it out with former teammate Almada for a starting spot.


The final signing of the summer window so far helps bulk up our full back positions, whilst also bringing a starting quality player in. Hysaj joins from Napoli on loan for the season, with an option to buy in place. He will slot into the starting lineup ahead of fellow loanee Jonjoe Kenny.

All in all, I’m happy with the deals that we’ve managed to do so far this summer. Our squad is left heavily reliant on loan players for depth, which is a worry for next season, but that makes it all the more important to make sure we have an impressive year. We have mostly bought in good quality players who all have room to improve, so it is possible that some of them are shifted on for profit in the future. I am certainly not out of the market if the right player appears, although with a lack of funds currently, it is more about spotting potential targets for next season.

The Month Ahead



August sees us get stuck in to the season straight away. First up should be a pretty routine trip to fourth division side Vfb Lübeck in the DFB-Pokal. I’m hoping to challenge for the trophy this season in order to secure some silverware, so I’ll be making sure that we navigate the potential banana skin with ease. The opening game off the Bundesliga season sees us travel to Borussia Monchengladbach, who will likely be challenging for a Champions League spot come the end of the season. The following week sees us play host to giants Bayern Munich in my first game at the Veltins Arena. It promises to be an absolute cracker, and will be a good test of our young side to see what they are made of this early in the season. Finally, we end the month with a game at home to Hertha Berlin, who have been predicted by the media to have a good chance at European qualification this season.

Next: August Report
Excellent business in the transfer market. You've done well to extract a decent amount of cash for players you had no interest in keeping and using it to really strengthen the squad appropriately. Hysaj is perhaps one of the most underrated full-backs in Europe. I truly believe so. A massive mistake from Napoli to allow him to leave on loan I think. Ajer and Morelos are two signature names too. The boys from Velez are extremely bright prospects and I look forward to seeing how they and the other talents develop.
ScottT: Managed to get most of them in with monthly instalments attached - I always find Ajer to be a really solid option this year.
Joe's avatar Group Joe
1 yearEdited

August Report



Lübeck 0-3 Schalke


The first game of my managerial career was an easy 3-0 away victory over 4th tier Lubeck. We took over 7,500 away fans to the game, where Alfredo Morelos got off to a flyer on his competitive debut for the club. After going close twice in the first 3 minutes, his first goal for the club came from an error by Raeder in the Lubeck goal, as he spilled a corner straight into Morelos’ path on 5 minutes. A rather quiet rest of the first half saw Schalke lead 1-0 at the break.

Schalke again started well in the second half, and when Thiago Almada’s deep free-kick from the right hand side was met by a towering Morelos header, we had doubled our lead. Schalke were given a scare on 70 minutes when Nastasic missed a routine header clear, allowing Will through on goal for Lubeck. However, Alexander Nubel was off his line quick to make a save. The game was wrapped up on 83 minutes, when a punt upfield from Elseid Hysaj left Morelos through on goal. He showed poise and composure to take a touch around the onrushing keeper, and smash the ball into an empty net from 18 yards, securing a debut hat-trick.

Gladbach 1-0 Schalke


The opening day of the Bundesliga season saw Schalke travel to Monchengladbach. Schalke again started well, with Morelos firing wide after a defensive error on 10 minutes. Shortly afterwards, some good work from Harit and Miranda down the left ended in Morelos having a header blocked at the near post. Gladbach had their own chances, with both Ginter and Thuram heading off-target. With the last chance off the first half, Schalke launched a 3 on 2 counter-attack, with Harit deciding to go it alone. However, his finishing let him down as he scuffed the chance wide.

The second half was not one to write home about, with nothing of note happening until Gladbach took the lead in the 72nd minute. Former Schalke man Breel Embolo played the ball down the channel to Marcus Thuram, who with seemingly no options, lumped the ball into the box. It was met by a soaring header from Plea, however, giving both Kenny and Nubel no chance. The game petered out after that, with Schalke not being able to turn their possession into chances.

Schalke 0-0 Bayern


The first game of the season at the Veltins Arena saw reigning champions Bayern Munich come to town. The best chance of the first half fell to Amine Harit, who met a Raman cross well, but saw his header go just over the bar with Neuer beaten. Schalke almost took the lead seconds after the break, when some good pressing by Morelos saw him win the ball from Hernandez, before forcing an excellent save from the Bayern keeper. The second half continued in quiet fashion, with Bayern happy to sit back away from home, although Schalke had a chance to win it in injury time. After some good intricate passing in the Bayern half, Rabbi Matondo was able to get in behind the defence down the right hand side. However, with the angle disappearing, he was only able to shoot at Manuel Neuer, and the chance was gone.

Schalke 4-0 Hertha


We did get our first win of the league season eventually, with a comprehensive win over Hertha. After a slow start to the game, it burst into life when Raman dribbled 40 yards, before his shot hit the bar and went over. From this moment it was all one way traffic, and after Raman had another shot blocked from distance, he was able to compose himself and find the corner from 20 yards on 26 minutes.

Schalke again started the second half excellently, and scored within 20 seconds of the whistle. Again, brilliant work from Raman saw him beat 3 defenders, before squaring to an unmarked Morelos to tap in. Only a few minutes later, some high pressing saw Schalke turn the ball over, before some good link-up play between Almada, Harit and Miranda down the left saw Harit find space on the corner of the box, curling home a beauty into the far corner. With the three points wrapped up, Schalke took their foot off the gas, although Morelos was able to double his tally in added time, again after Raman got in behind.

Next: September and October
After some initial disappointment against Gladbach, those were two excellent results against Bayern and Hertha.
ScottT: Not the best start, but solid at least!

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