FC Schalke 04: Ozan Kabak stands tall as November Player of the Month

Ozan Kabak of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Ozan Kabak of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

FC Schalke 04 center back Ozan Kabak has looked like a superstar since establishing himself as a regular starter due to injuries to veterans Benjamin Stambouli and Salif Sane.

David Wagner’s side has been bit hard by the injury bug at defense. Salif Sane is out until late in the season, Benjamin Stambouli has missed months with a broken bone in his foot, Matija Nastasic has dealt with multiple multi-week injuries, and even emergency center back option Weston McKennie dislocated his shoulder.

But over the past two months, the one constant at the heart of FC Schalke 04’s defense has been Ozan Kabak. The 19-year-old summer signing from VfB Stuttgart didn’t start right away, but his recent performances have made it clear that there’s a place in the lineup for him even when the more experienced center backs return to health.

Kabak was voted the Player of the Month for November, grabbing 48-percent of the overall share.

The Turkey international scored in both of the month’s first two games and recorded an assist in the final match of the month on Nov. 30 in a 2-1 win over Union Berlin.

Kabak was impervious in the air, disciplined with his passing, and read the game in front of him like a world-class defender with a decade of top-flight experience. The youngster made goal-saving tackles, rarely put a foot wrong, and had 11 interceptions in November’s four games.

Schalke have a future superstar in Kabak, who more than deserved to win the Player of the Month honors. And it was a competitive month of strong individual displays from Schalke players, as the likes of Benito Raman and Amine Harit were also quite good. But in the end, it had to be Kabak, who stepped into a starting position with injuries around him and immediately flourished.

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Kabak had a great December, too, putting on strong displays against SC Freiburg and Bayer Leverkusen defensively. He even added his third goal of the campaign, as he scored the lone goal for the Royal Blues in Schalke’s 1-1 draw with VfL Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena.