Passing needs to be tighter
Some may argue that Schalke could not have done much for any of the goals they conceded against Fortuna Dusseldorf, but aspects of their play have been conducive to allowing goals in transition. Primarily, Schalke looked sloppy with their passing game, and cheap giveaways are a great way to become more vulnerable to counters, especially against teams with more attacking firepower than Fortuna.
Only one player, star holding midfielder Omar Mascarell, completed more than 83% of their passes, per WhoScored.com, against Dusseldorf. Worse yet, Caligiuri, as much praise as he should receive for his goal, completed barely over 50% of his passes and was woeful in that regard. Oczipka wasn’t much better with a passing completion percentage hovering in the 60’s.
Even Ozan Kabak should get some criticism for his passing. He led the team in passes attempted but completed only 81.7% of them, which is a poor mark for a center back. Many of those were ambitious long balls, and while Kabak had the right idea with those attempts, he only completed three of a team-high 12 long balls. His teammates were similarly inefficient, albeit in fewer attempts.
In addition to inaccurate long balls, Oczipka and Caligiuri looked off the pace with their deliveries, though Oczipka’s corner was excellent. The consistency is lacking in Schalke’s passing game, and Caligiuri, in particular, needs to cut down on wasteful balls. He, Serdar, and Kabak often had the right idea in this game, but the execution wasn’t quite there.