Dortmund (AP) – Benedikt Höwedes has contested many district derbies in his professional years with FC Schalke from 2007 to 2018.
But even after his career ended, announced in June, the 2014 duel of arch-rivals for the 32-year-old world champion has lost little of its appeal. Prior to the game on Saturday (3.30 p.m.), the Sky expert commented on Schalke’s difficult situation in an interview with the German news agency.
Question: FC Schalke has not won in 20 Bundesliga matches. What’s wrong
Benedikt Höwedes: What went wrong at FC Schalke cannot be said in general terms. Because last season under coach David Wagner had both positive and negative outliers. In the first half of the season, Schalke played about their possibilities, in the second half of the season below. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
Question: How do you react to the change from coach to Manuel Baum?
The change of coach was inevitable. If you don’t win 18 games, the team will lose some confidence in the coach. It then falls by the wayside – including confidence in your own strength.
Q: Are you concerned about your old club?
Of course I am afraid that 20 games have not been won and that the downward trend will continue. However, I am sure Manuel Baum can do that with his quality.
Question: Do you see Schalke as one of the relegation candidates?
With 20 matches without a win, you are of course in the catchment area of potential relegation candidates. But I believe that new impulses are being given to the trainer and the potential of what is still being exhausted. Schalke has a team whose quality cannot have anything to do with the relegation battle. But this quality must finally be shown on the field.
Question: Not only the sporting situation, but also the economic situation seems threatening. What must we do?
You can only come out of this situation as one. Ultimately, everything depends on sporting success, which has to come back to get back on a firmer financial path. That’s where leverage should be applied.
Question: Has the difficult kick-off program further increased the pre-existing uncertainty?
To start the season with matches against FC Bayern, Leipzig and Dortmund is of course extremely ungrateful. All three teams are championship candidates. Most of the time you don’t get confidence in games like this.
Q: Does the bad mood diminish expectations for the derby?
The atmosphere around the club is very negative. That’s why there is so much pressure. Of course, a derby offers a great opportunity to loosen this blocking. But it will not be an easy task. After all, the Dortmund team is qualitatively at a completely different level. Even if they had a bad game against Lazio.
Question: It has been said over and over that the current placement in the derby hardly plays a role. Is it the same this time?
The big draw of the derby is the heated atmosphere that is conveyed to the team. Then quality does not play such a big role. Then there is only a fight. This time it will be different as it will be quiet without many spectators. If you’re physically stressed and act very enthusiastically, you can hurt the Dortmunders. Lazio and Augsburg have shown this. This can rob the young Dortmunders of the fun. “
ABOUT THE PERSON: Benedikt Höwedes played for FC Schalke for 16 years. After further stints at Juventus Turin and Lokomotiv Moscow, the 32-year-old 2014 World Champion ended his career this summer. He is currently a football expert for Sky.