Possessing one of the most talented and high potential squads in the Bundesliga, there is no reason why Schalke should not be aiming to win silverware within the next couple of seasons.
Enjoying a plethora of young starlets, most of whom have come out of the famed “Knappenschmiede”, Schalke have the opportunity to capitalize on an ageing Bayern Munich team and snatch a few trophies.
However, things have not been going well for Schalke. With only one win in the last eight games, the club must make several changes in order to take full advantage of their world-class potential.
Below are the five things that Schalke must do in order to be successful in 2015/16.
1. Replace Roberto Di Matteo with Markus Weinzierl
Schalke’s appointment of Di Matteo still puzzles fans today. Possessing attacking geniuses such as Max Meyer, Julian Draxler, Jefferson Farfan, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Di Matteo’s extremely defensive approach does not play to the squad's strengths.
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The club must follow the Borussia Dortmund model and hire a coach who can get the best out of the young energy the side possesses through Rock-N-Roll high pressing, fast paced football.
While Thomas Tuchel would have been an excellent choice, he is now off the market, as he will be replacing Jürgen Klopp come the end of the season. However, Schalke still have an alternative in the tactically similar and also young manager Markus Weinzierl of Augsburg.
Weinzierl, who has so far led Augsburg to fifth place in the Bundesliga. He could do wonders at a team who pays Kevin Prince Boateng more than the entire Augsburg XI combined.
He certainly could play to the team’s strengths, and with the lightning quick Jefferson Farfan combined with the creative geniuses of Max Meyer and Julian Draxler, Weinzierl could implement similar tactics.
2. Sign a quick striker
With Klaas-Jan Huntelaar not getting any younger, Schalke need a new striker, preferably a pacey one who could compliment Weinzierl’s quick counter-attack. While perhaps the service they have been receiving has been underwhelming, the lack of goals between the Hunter and Chopou-Mouting highlights the need for another striker.
The recent success of the young Leroy Sané gives a glimpse as to what sort of devastating effect a quick striker can have in the Schalke Lineup. However, Sané lacks the physicality and experience to be an immediate solution.
3. Find a system that fits both Max Meyer and Julian Draxler
Julian Draxler tends to play some of his best football in the middle. His best moments against Chelsea in the 1-1 draw earlier this year, by far his most impressive performance of the season, came predominately when he drifted in towards the centre.
Likewise however, Max Meyer too plays his best football in the middle of the offense. While the agile Meyer is extremely tidy in cramped spaces and is best stringing together short passes, Draxler has a rocket of a shot and is great at picking out long balls.
Both extremely talented dribblers, the different facets of specialities the duo possess could form a deadly partnership possessing a wide-depth of abilities to adapt to each and every situation. While it may sacrifice some defensive security, a midfield with two attacking center midfielders, Max and Drax, could be a worthwhile risk.
4. And Leon Goretzka too
Leon Goretzka also is one for the future and must line-up alongside Draxler and Meyer. His wide range of both defensive and attacking abilities could seem him become the heart beat of the Schalke midfield.
His incredible solo goal against Bayer Leverkusen last season showcases the poise and versatility he offers.
5. Sign Khedira
Sami Khedira is an extremely talented box-to-box midfielder whose CV speaks for itself, having won both the Champions League and the World Cup. Reportedly on the verge of signing for Schalke, Khedira could provide much needed experience in the midfield and help link the defense with the attack - something Schalke have struggled to do recently.
Should Schalke make these changes, they could certainly prove themselves as contenders for both the Bundesliga and the Deutscher Pokal. And who knows? Maybe they could follow in the footsteps of their ruhr rivals and make it all the way to the Champions League final…