Ozan Kabak was always going to be a player to watch closely in FC Schalke 04’s Matchday 10 tilt against FC Augsburg, and he managed to pull off an equalizing goal in his first Bundesliga start for the team.
FC Schalke 04 fans likely imagined that Ozan Kabak would play a bigger role for the Royal Blues in 2019-2020, as he was a massive signing this summer. Kabak had interest from Arsenal and AC Milan, among others, but he chose to stay in Germany after being one of the best young players in the league last season for recently-relegated Stuttgart.
The Turkish international received his opportunity to start on Matchday 10 against FC Augsburg due to an injury to Benjamin Stambouli, who could be out until 2020 with a broken bone in his foot. Kabak’s importance to Schalke only grew after Salif Sane went down with a potentially serious knee injury early in the match.
And Kabak came up huge in the 70th minute in the second half. Schalke were down 2-1 after Alfred Finnbogason converted a penalty kick, which was deservedly given after VAR ruled that Bastian Oczipka did indeed block a cross with his hands.
But that deficit was erased by Kabak, who flicked a wonderful cross from Daniel Caligiuri into the back of the net. It was a great header from Kabak, who can fill the void left by Sane on set pieces as a threat to score with his head; Kabak is also one of the Bundesliga’s best center backs at threatening keepers in the box.
Caligiuri also set up the first goal for Schalke against Augsburg to tie the game at 1-1 just before the end of the first half. His dangerous free kick delivery from the left led to an own goal, as a defender flicked the clearance into the back of the net after the ball just flew over star midfielder Suat Serdar’s head.
These two free kick assists show that Caligiuri is one of the best in the business at setting up teammates in dead ball situations, and it also shows that the veteran wide man can change the complexion of the game, even when he’s not at his best. Caligiuri, in fact, started the game on the bench before being substituted after Sane’s injury.
Hopefully this goal is a sign of things to come for Kabak, who will be one of Schalke’s most important players with Stambouli and Sane injured. Note that Matija Nastasic is also out with an injury.