Posted on February 13, 2017
The Royal Blues have made a strong start to February after a draw at table-toppers Bayern Munich, as well as two wins against SV Sandhausen and Hertha BSC. Sporting director Christian Heidel speaks to schalke04.de about the 2-0 victory over Berlin, the Europa League and the DFB Cup.
For much of the game, it went how we wanted it to. We knew exactly what Berlin were going to do. They clearly watched our match against Frankfurt so they sat very deep. They probably also thought that we would play the long ball game but the team managed to break them down well, kept their patience and were strong. The boys built on their previous performances and on balance we deserved the win, even though they had one or two chances in the second half. That happens.
I think the Frankfurt game was one to forget. It’s understandable that there was a lot of criticism afterwards. I can understand that because we were pretty weak. You are always going to have games like that but we’ve only lost once in 2017 and taken seven points from four games. We are also still in the cup. February is an important month and it’s going well for us so far. The match against Eintracht was obviously a setback for us, as well as our mentality and confidence, but the great thing is that the team didn’t let it affect them in the long term and instead got themselves back on track. Things have run very smoothly since then.
If you hit the post from 20 yards out you cannot say that you have squandered a good chance so much as you have been unlucky. He could barely have hit the shot better, it was just a case of a few centimetres. Leon really put his stamp on the game. Hertha tried to isolate him and go man-to-man against him in the second half but he got his goal through real perseverance and he really deserved it. We know that Leon is an important part of the team and we are delighted to have him.
Of course we want to advance to the round of 16. We do not have a ranking system for the competitions we are in. We have the chance to turn a difficult season into a strong one and we want to advance further in the Europa League. We know to expect a tough game and we will be prepared.
The DFB Cup is also a route into Europa League qualification. I had the impression that there was a bit of misery after the good performance against Sandhausen because we were draw with Bayern for the next round – that is completely false. I believe that we have a real chance to make the semi-finals in Munich, even though they will be the favourites. We showed in the Bundesliga that we are not doomed to lose in Munich. That was the first step, and we will go there for the next with belief that we can progress.