Young and energetic: schalke’s cash-strapped squad must rely on young talent

Young and energetic: Schalke's cash-strapped squad must rely on young talent

David wagner has little interest in the winless record series. The FC schalke 04 coach has enough on his plate trying to find solutions in the fubball bundesliga’s tightly packed remaining schedule.

The decision to rely on young and hungry players, forced on us by an intangible injury problem, is not proving to be the worst one. It is becoming increasingly clear that the 48-year-old soccer coach will have to find the right mix of talent and a few experienced professionals with leadership qualities for the upcoming season.

Schalke fans got a taste of things to come with a respectable 1-1 draw against champions league contenders bayer leverkusen. With ten professionals missing, wagner sent in a ragtag squad with an average age of 23.45, which gave the playfully superior opponents a run for their money. Of the starting eleven, only bastian oczipka (31), alessandro schopf (26) and captain caligiuri (32) were older than 23.

In 13. The second game in a row without success, the handwriting that had made schalke (with stronger personnel) unpredictable in the first half of the season and had led them to fifth place was again in evidence. For a long time, it even looked as if the team would be able to score a goal after caligiuri’s lead in the 51st minute. Minute by handelfmeter running readiness and fighter’s heart were enough to force the cup finalist in the knees.

Wagner praised the eleven with the two bundeslisga debutants can bozdogan and jonas hofmann: "i absolutely agree with how my team performed, how they fought back. We have shown that we stand together and fight despite the tight personnel situation. The commitment of all the players was right."

But an own goal by juan miranda (81.) gave the star ensemble around kai havertz another payer and schalke the history-making negative series. "Who knows, maybe this point will be very important for us again," orated bayer coach peter bosz, whose team overtook rival monchengladbach and now has qualification for the konigsklasse in its own hands.

Wagner will have to continue on the youth path. Money for new recruits is not available at the ailing club. Caligiuri will probably move to augsburg. Whether leader benjamin stambouli is willing to accept considerable financial burdens for a new contract is an open question. Half a dozen returning loan players won’t help schalke much. Keeper alexander nubel, who switched to FC bayer and showed his huge potential against bayer, rubs a hole in the wall. Borrowed talents like jean-clair todibo and miranda (both FC barcelona) and jonjoe kenny (FC everton) are hard to hold on to.

Many wonder whether wagner can develop a promising team around top talents like ozan kabak, weston mckennie and suat serdar with few resources. In order not to let the sympathy values rush completely into the basement, the board must avoid fatal communication breakdowns in the future, as with the controversial hard case regulation and the emotionally discussed separation of 24 minibus drivers for the junior players of the knappenschmiede.

The management duo of jochen schneider and alexander jobst and squad planner michael reschke, who remain after the departure of finance director peter peters, have a tough task ahead of them. The management team has so far failed to prove that it can do better than some of those who led the club to the brink of insolvency through mismanagement and a misguided transfer policy, which was exacerbated by the corona crisis.

And if the overbearing supervisory board boss clemens tonnies doesn’t stop vaingloriously exaggerating fan expectations, schalke faces the painful path of other traditional clubs like hamburger SV and vfb stuttgart – straight into the 2nd division. League.