FC Schalke 04 will be missing Matija Nastasic again

Schalke 04, Matija Nastasic (Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Schalke 04, Matija Nastasic (Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Matija Nastasic suffered a knee injury prior to last week’s game against Bayer Leverkusen, and FC Schalke 04 will also miss the center back on Sunday vs. Eintracht Frankfurt.

Despite losing 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen last week, FC Schalke 04 are still in a Champions League position. Currently, the Royal Blues still in fourth in the Bundesliga standings, though they are tied with SC Freiburg and Matchday 14 opponents Leverkusen on points. Arch rivals Borussia Dortmund are in third with 26 points to Schalke’s 25.

This weekend, Die Knappen will take on Eintracht Frankfurt at the Veltins Arena, but they’ll be forced to start Weston McKennie at center back for the fourth time this season. Though McKennie has acquitted himself well in defense, he’s ideally a starting center midfielder.

McKennie has to start because Matija Nastasic is injured again. According to a report from Kicker, Nastasic will be unable to face Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 15 due to a knee injury. David Wagner hoped Nastasic would be able to face Frankfurt after missing last week’s loss to Bayer, but, unfortunately, he hasn’t recovered.

Nastasic had only recently returned from an Achilles’ injury to start alongside talented youngster Ozan Kabak, who has starred since entering the starting lineup after injuries to veterans Benjamin Stambouli and Salif Sane. While Nastasic hasn’t had the same Team of the Week-level impact as Kabak, he’s been solid, even making a goal-saving tackle to bail out Alexander Nubel in Schalke’s 2-1 victory over Union Berlin a couple of weeks ago.

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Schalke will be tested by Frankfurt. While the Eagles aren’t even in a Europa League position in the table, they have dangerous attacking talent. Bas Dost could return this weekend, while Goncalo Paciencia has been excellent after flashing his talent in 2018-2019.

Hopefully, Nastasic will be able to recover from this knee injury and play on Matchday 16 when the Royal Blues take on VFL Wolfsburg on Dec. 18. Until then, McKennie will have to start against Frankfurt, as Bastian Oczipka will not move inside from left back to center back as an alternative. Considering how well Oczipka has played at left back and how solid McKennie has generally looked at center back, Wagner has no need to deviate from his usual emergency plan.