Schalke: 5 key players to watch against Hoffenheim

Schalke 04, Matija Nastasic (Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Schalke 04, Matija Nastasic (Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /
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Schalke CM Weston McKennie
Weston McKennie of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images) /

CM Weston McKennie

There is no doubt that Weston McKennie is one of Schalke’s most important players on a weekly basis with Suat Serdar and Omar Mascarell out with significant injuries. McKennie will have to play both roles in midfield, and since captain Mascarell is out for the rest of the season, McKennie’s ability to read the game and pick out calm passes will be that much more important.

On Saturday, the American star will be going up against a tough Hoffenheim midfield that features former Schalke player Sebastian Rudy, who has enjoyed a resurgent 2019-2020 campaign with his new club. Hoffenheim also have an even better center midfielder in Florian Grillitsch, who should be on the radar of Premier League clubs.

Needless to say, McKennie will have his work cut out for him, but he is one of Schalke’s best players right now. He will have a big say on this matchup.

RB Jonjoe Kenny

Schalke right back Jonjoe Kenny is one of the team’s best players and had a sensational Hinrunde as one of the Bundesliga’s top fullbacks. He’s shown some weaknesses over the past couple of months, but, by and large, he remains an asset to the Schalke attack.

Kenny will need to make key contributions to the Schalke attack on Saturday, as the Royal Blues will ask him to carry the ball into the final third and pick out key passes for teammates Burgstaller and Raman in the box. The Everton loanee will need to be strong defensively, but he’ll also need to be more active than usual in the attack. It’s time for Kenny to start showing a more consistent final ball; Schalke needs this on Matchday 25.