FC Schalke 04: Kutucu returns to practice, Nastasic is still out vs. Wolfsburg

Schalke 04, Ahmed Kutucu (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images)
Schalke 04, Ahmed Kutucu (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images) /

FC Schalke 04 will still be missing center back Matija Nastasic against VFL Wolfsburg and SC Freiburg this week, but Ahmed Kutucu has made his return to practice.

It looked like young FC Schalke 04 forward Ahmed Kutucu would finally get his chance to start on Matchday 15 against Eintracht Frankfurt, but he suffered a foot injury late in the practice week. Instead, fellow talented young striker Rabbi Matondo drew the start and looked promising in the 1-0 win.

Matija Nastasic was another notable absence from Schalke’s win on Sunday against Eintracht. He has been out for the last couple of games with a knee injury, which comes not long after he missed a significant period of time with an Achilles’ injury. And with Weston McKennie now out for months with a dislocated shoulder he suffered early in the Eintracht match, Nastasic’s return would be that much more welcome.

The good news is that Kutucu has returned to training ahead of Wednesday’s game against VFL Wolfsburg. He created two late goals against Union Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen before missing the Eintracht game, so he could play a role against Wolfsburg, depending on his health.

It’s great to see Kutucu is back in practice.

However, Schalke will still miss Nastasic. According to Dirk Schlarmann of Sky Sports, Nastasic will miss this week’s games against Wolfsburg and Freiburg.

Nastasic’s injury means Schalke may have to field a set up similar to what they did against Eintracht Frankfurt after McKennie’s injury. Juan Miranda would play as a left wing back with Jonjoe Kenny on the right, and then Omar Mascarell, Bastian Oczipka, and Ozan Kabak would form something of a flexible back three. It worked against Eintracht, so it could also work against Wolfsburg and Freiburg.

Weston McKennie will be out until February. dark. Next

Schalke’s injured players will have time to rest after the Freiburg game, since the Bundesliga will be on a break until Jan. 17 when the Royal Blues take on fellow Champions League contenders Borussia Monchengladbach. By then, Nastasic and fellow center back Benjamin Stambouli should be back from injuries.