Once again, these were extremely strenuous days that lie behind Peter Knäbel and his staff. Until shortly before the end of the transfer market, they tried to make possible what was possible given the tight budget. The bottom line is that there are now six winter signings that should help FC Schalke 04 with the mission of staying in the class: The Colombian international Eder Balanta (29) was the last professional who could still be brought in on Tuesday, the so-called deadline day.
"I believe that we were able to achieve a significant improvement - in terms of the robustness of our team, the competition in the squad and in general in terms of our quality," said Knäbel. To achieve this, the sports director, together with René Grotus, the sports officer, and André Hechelmann, the chief scout, "worked day and night", as Schalke's head coach Thomas Reis put it.
Whether Niklas Tauer, Jere Uronen, Michael Frey, Moritz Jenz, Tim Skarke or Balanta - the newcomers are all players who have been loaned out. In addition, there is Soichiro Kozuki, a player who was raised from the U23. Player purchases were not possible for Schalke, who had to report total liabilities of almost 182 million as of June 30, 2022.
"It was an extraordinary transfer phase - because it was anything but easy to make the additions," says Knäbel. Once again, the royal blues “were not able to reach the top shelf”. Nevertheless, we managed to get reinforcements "for all parts of the team". Knäbel is convinced that the result of the efforts in retrospect will receive "benevolent feedback": "We have to win games for that."
However, that would require Schalke to start catching up despite currently being six points behind the relegation place. However, the players will not be the only decisive factor in this. "Thomas Reis is our key figure," explained Knäbel. Despite the difficult situation, the coach has understood how to convey a different attitude to the team in recent months. Despite many problems, the team is reaching its limits, which is the result of the good work of the coaching staff.
Knäbel is therefore certain that the common path should be continued. "It's clear to me that our future has a lot to do with this coach," he said. There will be no change of coach again. "Thomas Reis is and will remain our coach," explained Knäbel. Does this also apply if Schalke actually have to go back to the second division at the end of the season? "Thomas Reis is and will remain our coach," said the sports director.
However, Knäbel is still not assuming that there will be another relegation scenario. "I just hope that the team will reward themselves with a win for their effort," he said. Then many things are possible. Schalke will try again on Saturday - then it's off to Borussia Mönchengladbach (6.30 p.m. / live Sky).