FC Schalke 04: Benjamin Stambouli, Salif Sane updated timelines

Salif Sane, Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Salif Sane, Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

FC Schalke 04 star center backs Sailf Sane and Benjamin Stambouli suffered serious injuries in the Fall, and manager David Wagner provided updates on their statuses before the start of the Rückrunde.

Although FC Schalke 04 have one of the finest collections of center backs in all of Europe, they have been hit hard by injuries at the position.

First, key leader Benjamin Stambouli broke a bone in his foot in the 0-0 draw at the Revierderby in October, and he’s been out since. Then, Salif Sane went down early with a serious knee injury on Matchday 10, and he’s also been out since.

Throw in on-and-off injuries to Matija Nastasic and a dislocated shoulder for emergency option Weston McKennie, who will thankfully return in a few weeks, and it’s no wonder why Schalke were so desperate to sign Jean-Clair Todibo on loan from FC Barcelona.

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Todibo is a coup and could form an elite, young center back partnership with Ozan Kabak – and that partnership could last for years if the Royal Blues are lucky.

And when Stambouli and Sane return, Schalke’s center back group will be on another level from anyone else in the Bundesliga, which could be a huge boost for their hopes at returning to the Champions League.

So when are Stambouli and Sane coming back?

Per Wagner, Stambouli should be available in February if the check-up on his foot goes well and he is able to resume running.

Sane’s injury was more severe, but he is “on schedule” to return in March. That would give him a couple of more months of action to help the Royal Blues pursue the Champions League and maybe even the Bundesliga title.

Kabak has solidified himself as a starter and a future superstar – if he hasn’t already claimed that status – at the heart of Die Knappen’s defense. So when Stambouli and Sane return, one of them could be sitting on the bench. As good as Stambouli is, Sane was one of the best overall defenders in the Bundesliga so it would likely be Stambouli sitting with Nastasic.

And if Todibo can have a similar impact to Kabak, which is in the realm of possibilities given his talent, then Sane could also become a key backup option. That’s less likely, but it’s a “good problem” to have.

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Either way, it’s great to hear that Sane and Stambouli are on schedule, as their leadership and solid defensive work have been missed.