Schalke: 5 things we learned from 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim

Schalke's Weston McKennie (Photo by UWE KRAFT/AFP via Getty Images)
Schalke's Weston McKennie (Photo by UWE KRAFT/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Schalke RM Rabbi Matondo
Rabbi Matondo of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

4. Rabbi Matondo shows his talent

Weston McKennie was the clear star in the attack for Schalke, leading the way with the team’s lone goal and four key passes. But Wales international Rabbi Matondo also deserves praise for the way he played on Matchday 25.

Matondo looks so much better on the right than on the left. He is more lethal in the attack when cutting inside on his left foot, and he was active in creating chances for others on the right, too. Matondo was second on the team behind McKennie with three key passes, and while the 19-year-old was sometimes sloppy with his dribbling, his effort mattered a lot more.

Going forward, David Wagner needs to keep trusting Matondo. He is Schalke’s best wide player by some distance and will only improve as his game time increases. Matondo is already a starting-caliber player for the Royal Blues with an upside to reach stardom.

5. Praise for the fullbacks

Bastian Oczipka has been one of Schalke’s most impressive players throughout the 2019-2020 season, and the all-important left back had a fantastic game against Hoffenheim. The veteran defender worked incredibly hard on both ends of the pitch, providing some underrated skills while drawing two fouls and creating two key passes for teammates.

On defense, Oczipka had three tackles, two interceptions, and two clearances while dealing with plenty of overloads from the Hoffenheim attack.

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I’ve been critical of Jonjoe Kenny over the past couple of weeks, so I’d also like to take some time to praise him. Although McKennie really did all the work, Kenny did grab an assist in this game. On defense, Kenny had three tackles and an interception and was never caught out of position, in contrast to his previous games. Kenny can still do more to support the attack, but he had a quality bounce-back game.