FC Schalke 04: 5 key players to watch against Borussia Monchengladbach

Ozan Kabak of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Ozan Kabak of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Schalke DM Omar Mascarell
MURCIA, SPAIN – JANUARY 07: Omar Mascarell of FC Schalke 04 runs with the ball during the Friendly match between FC Schalke 04 and Sint-Truiden at Pinatar Arena on January 07, 2020 in Murcia, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

DM Omar Mascarell

Now wearing the captain’s armband after Alexander Nübel was unsurprisingly stripped of his leadership duties, Omar Mascarell will be tasked with stepping up his game from “great” to “top quality” over the coming months. Mascarell is one of a handful of players in the Schalke starting XI who holds the keys to a title charge, because he sets the tone for this team.

If Amine Harit is the heart of the team, then Mascarell is the SA node. In simpler terms, he is the metronome who sets the pace and is the unsung hero who puts in the dirty work that helps the likes of Harit and Raman shine.

This season, per WhoScored.com, he leads all Schalke midfielders and attackers with an 84.5% pass completion percentage. Mascarell is also averaging a team-high 2.6 interceptions per game with an additional 1.9 tackles per game to show why he’s one of the premier holding midfielders in Germany.

He’ll have to be stellar against a Gladbach midfield that boasts an equally capable player in Denis Zakaria. Mascarell will have to do plenty of covering against Thuram, too, who is a maestro all over the pitch. The Spain international could very well be a deciding factor on Matchday 18.

AM Amine Harit

I’ll try to keep the praise brief, because it’s all too easy to get lost gushing about Amine Harit’s brilliance. Harit is Schalke’s leaders in goals and assists with a combined 10 of them, and his dribbling ability is simply on another level from anyone else in the Bundesliga. In a league that includes Philippe Coutinho and Marco Reus, Harit has been the best No. 10.

He’ll need to show every bit of that ability on the big stage this Friday, because Schalke’s successful defense of the Veltins Arena hinges on him. The Morocco international must press and weave his way through the defense on and off the ball, since Rose will undoubtedly identify him as THE danger man for Gladbach to scheme around defensively. And Rose is brilliant at this.

dark. Next. Schalke get an excellent deal for Todibo

Harit will have to prove unmarkable, and he must also find the killer pass or inch-perfect finish when the moment calls upon. Because even if Gladbach do manage to keep him quiet for 80 minutes, we all know how Harit can conjure up magic in the clutch.