How Schalke 04 can recover from a difficult start to the season
Dave Burin | 18 September 2018
Tedesco’s men in UCL action this evening
After a second-placed finish in last season’s Bundesliga, things have started in far less impressive fashion for Schalke 04 this term.
Second-bottom with no points from their first three games, Domenico Tedesco’s side will be looking to finally kick-start their season tonight. They host FC Porto in the Champions League.
Ahead of their UCL clash, the Coral News Team look at how Tedesco and co. can revive things after a poor start to the campaign…
Time to ditch the defensive trio
Playing three at the back worked well for Schalke last term. But it’s failing as a system right now, due to the exit of defender Thilo Kehrer to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
Without the 21-year-old’s energy and intelligent game-reading, Die Konigsblauen look extremely exposed playing a defensive trio.
That’s been borne out by recent results, with Schalke conceding two goals in each of their first three games – including a first home loss to Hertha BSC since 2004.
With decent full-back additions in Hamza Mendyl and Chelsea loanee Baba Rahman this summer, moving to a back four seems far more sensible.
Their style doesn’t fit the main strikers
While Schalke did grab second spot in the Bundesliga last term, they were hardly free scoring. In fact, Tedesco’s side had the lowest tally (53) of any top-six side.
The main issue is that the head coach’s system just isn’t working for the first choice strikers.
The Gelsenkirchen outfit play with a narrow midfield, so don’t tend to serve their front two with much in the way of crosses. That’s quite a problem when those strikers are the powerful pair of Mark Uth and Austria international Guido Burgstaller.
Either the personnel up front needs to change, or the style of play.
They need another midfield playmaker
Die Konigsblauen signed three midfielders during the summer – holding men Sebastian Rudy and Omar Mascarell and the terrier-like Suat Serdar.
All look to be decent enough signings on paper. But they’ve not added any creative players in the centre of the park to offset two fairly major summer departures.
The hugely creative Leon Goretzka netted 14 goals and provided 13 assists in his last two seasons with Schalke. Meanwhile, Max Meyer will also be missed in attacking midfield, despite last season being below his usual standards.
In short, Schalke need to add some flair to their midfield in January. Without it, they could face a difficult campaign.
Their next league clash is a daunting home game against Bayern Munich on Saturday. The Gelsenkirchen club are 13/2 for a surprise win, while Double Chance: Schalke or Draw is 9/5.
Click here for Coral’s Schalke 04 v FC Porto odds.
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