Schalke: First step towards goals is getting Benito Raman back

Schalke 04, Benito Raman (Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Schalke 04, Benito Raman (Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Schalke’s attack is problem area No. 1, and a large part of the problem comes down to Benito Raman falling off his initial torrid pace.

When Benito Raman first broke out for Schalke against Arminia Bielefeld, it was clear we’d found our man. With two goals in that match, the seal had been broken. He went on to score four goals and add two assists in his next six matches, good for one goal contribution per match.

Exactly what you’d expect from a striker at a club of Schalke’s caliber. He was gelling beautifully with Amine Harit, he was providing a threat over the top, and when Die Knappen were healthy, he was the pivotal figure of this attack.

Since that breakout and the subsequential matches, Raman has disappeared. Or rather, his statistical return has disappeared. In his last eleven matches, he’s managed just a goal and an assist as the club struggles to figure out how to consistently create goals.

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It was quite clear why Schalke brought in Raman from Dusseldorf. In his previous year at the club, he played 1600 minutes and accounted for 10 goals and four assists. The previous year, again, 1600 minutes, 10 goals, two assists.

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The idea was, you put him into a club that is better, and he gives you slightly more. But even still, his return at Fortuna Dusseldorf was a goal or assist every 123 minutes. That’s a great, solid return. Something that can blossom when given the right supporting cast.

Schalke had that supporting cast, and as you can see by the goal return, he shot out to a similar return but slightly improved.

If the Blues want to get back to their best goal-scoring form, they have to get Benito Raman back into his usual form. That’s the first and most important step. But it’s a hard step to wrap our heads around because there are so many missing pieces. Suat Serdar is out, Amine Harit is struggling, our centerbacks—who play those bombing balls over the top—are a rotating mess of injuries.

When Michael Gregoritsch arrived, that match against Borussia Monchengladbach showed me that there were other ways to get Raman involved, ways that need to take priority as David Wagner struggles to keep the team held together in a European qualifying spot.

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It sounds easy—get Benito Raman involved. But it’s not. Still, if we focus our attempts at getting him back to his best, so much else falls into place as well.