Going into this past weekend, Schalke HAD to get six points to put the relegation battle in their own hands. Instead, we saw a complete failure in the season's must-win game up to that point. Losing 2-0 in Sinsheim to Hoffenheim was a big kick to the groin.
Schalke absolutely needs three points against Hertha on Friday and then must rely on help from rivals to find salvation.
Thomas Reis had some choice words about the match afterward at the press conference. "We weren’t at the races in the first half and were far too passive. Only our fans were fit for the Bundesliga. We let Hoffenheim knock the ball about and they had a few decent chances. The first half wasn’t good enough for a side fighting for survival."
Reis was right. In a game where the team had to put it all on the line, there was very little passion or effort. It looked almost as if the team had already punched their tickets to the 2.Bundesliga. It probably did not help morale with the news prior to kickoff that last year's MVP, Simon Terodde, announced he would leave Gelsenkirchen.
"The opponents wanting to get stuck in more than us is something that I can’t accept. You have to show a better mentality if the opponents have more quality and I didn’t see that from my team in the first half. We tried all we could in the second half, but then came the penalty that had to be retaken." said Reis. In typical Schalke fashion, they celebrated a big moment like the Fahrmann penalty save and it got called back for encroachment and our hopes and dreams faded as the ball went into the back of the net with the retake.
"We had one or two chances to get back in the game, however, over the whole 90 minutes we weren’t good enough to get anything. Even though today’s defeat hurts, we have to simply keep on going. We’ve got a really important game next on Friday and we really want to win it – and perhaps need to in order to stay alive. I’m confident that we will show a different side to ourselves at home." Reis ended his comments.
Perhaps we need to win against Hertha? I'm sorry, but he should know they must win. Here I am thinking the team just isn't performing and letting the stress of it all get to them. After hearing these words from Reis, I'm beginning to think his sense of urgency may be lacking. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I want my coach to demand this is a must-win game, not say perhaps.
It's true I do not know what is being said in the locker room. Perhaps Reis is telling the team exactly what they need to hear, and the team has just been unfortunate. Surely Reis must be applauded for the long unbeaten streak against some top opponents. Equally, I'm sure that the team had to look at this long run and see it made very little dent in their pursuit of survival.
Relegation isn't a forgone conclusion just yet. A win this weekend, some important wins down the stretch, and other favorable results are still possible. The question, however, is it likely? I'm not so sure anymore. I've mentally begun to prepare for both realities. One in which we remain in the Bundesliga and one where we are back in the super league that is 2.Bundesliga. We'll have a better idea in less than 24 hours. Let's support the team either way.
Gluck auf! 💙🤍⚒️