After a hard-fought win against VfB Stuttgart, Schalke aims to go one better with a win against VfL Bochum on Saturday (3/4, 9:30 ET). Victory would take them past their local rivals in the table.
“It’s a very important game. Everyone knows what the situation in the table is—both teams need the points,” said head coach Thomas Reis. The 49-year-old is not perturbed by the fact that he will be facing his ex-club this weekend. “Everything that’s being written in the lead-up to the game is part of it, but I’m not too worried. I’m looking forward to being back and want to be successful with my team,” he said.
Knowing the pressure of performing in Bochum in front of a home crowd, the coach has taken all necessary steps to make sure his team is prepared for it. “It’s a tight space and can become very loud and hectic. It will come down to whoever manages to keep a cool head,” Reis said. He mentioned that his team should not anticipate anything like “a warm welcome” from the fans there. Reis is hoping for a peaceful atmosphere during the upcoming fixture between two Ruhr clubs, despite it having the potential to be a tough rivalry. This weekend, spectators can expect to experience a tranquil ambiance, both in and outside of the stadium.
Brunner is back in the lineup, but Kozuki's status remains uncertain.
Reis can count on Cedric Brunner's presence on the team this weekend. The defender had missed the Stuttgart game due to a nasal fracture but has now been training with a protective mask. Soichiro Kozuki's participation in the upcoming game on Saturday is uncertain due to an ankle problem.
The head coach made it clear that his team should be on their toes when playing Bochum, as the opponent has an impressive record of winning five out of their last six Bundesliga home matches. “We know how dangerous they can be. They are a very dynamic side and in striker Philipp Hofmann, they have a striker who they can look to play long balls to,” Reis said. Schalke must be cautious when dealing with VfL's build-up play. Their goalkeeper Manuel Riemann is known for playing long balls forward, so this situation should not be taken lightly.
Reis is well aware of the areas where his team can gain an advantage against their opponents this weekend. “They have conceded the most goals of any team in the league and have failed to convert several clear-cut chances,” he said. “We want to take advantage of that.” Reis predicted that the match would be fiercely contested, but “We need to be prepared to resist.” The coach commented that their win against Stuttgart last weekend was a relief and created a more laid-back atmosphere within the squad. Nonetheless, they are still determined to approach the upcoming game with complete focus, Reis said.: “Everyone is giving it everything they have, and everyone is looking forward to this game.”
Having Brunner back in the lineup will be a boost for the Royal Blues. After the last match, Reis talked about not tinkering with something that works. The left side of the defense is still a big issue, however, look for Reis to count on Henning Matriciani once again. The young defender was pivotal in the opening goal and held his own, despite being tested. As the head coach said, he played with a lot of heart and courage and that is all he can ask for.
Schalke will need to continue their scoring ways in a must-win situation. Look for the attack to continue their improved play and a much-needed victory on the road to local rivals Bochum. If the other results go our way, we could be in a true dogfight with several teams for survival and at that point, anything is possible. Let's handle our business. That's all we can ask. Glück auf 💙🤍