Schalke: 5 biggest takeaways from the 2019-2020 season so far

David Wagner of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
David Wagner of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /
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FC Schalke 04, Markus Schubert
Markus Schubert of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images) /

2. Goalkeeper shouldn’t be a worry

During the winter transfer window, Alexander Nübel decided to leave Schalke by signing a pre-contract agreement with Bayern Munich for a free transfer in the summer of 2020. Although Nübel is a talented keeper who should one day be a superstar at Bayern, he wasn’t the most impressive young keeper for the Royal Blues in 2019-2020.

That honor goes to Markus Schubert, who was second in the Bundesliga in post-shot expected goals minus goals allowed. Only Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Yann Sommer was better in this category, and the Swiss keeper is widely regarded as the best in the entire league.

Schubert has what it takes to be one of the Bundesliga’s elite goalkeepers, because he produced that level of quality as a sudden starter at the age of 21. The 2019 summer signing from Dynamo Dresden showed nerves just once, and that was against mighty Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

Schalke will also have veteran keeper and former captain Ralf Fährmann returning from loan, so they will be more than fine in goal. Schubert should get the first crack at starting, but Fährmann is a step above “insurance” in terms of quality. He was once a top-notch keeper for Die Knappen.

3. David Wagner has what it takes

Although David Wagner should receive constructive criticism for some of his stagnant tactical decisions during the Rückrunde, he should also receive plenty of praise for leading the Royal Blues to what should be successful European qualification in the 2019-2020 season.

Before Wagner’s arrival, Schalke looked like a lost team without any sort of identity, and a lot of young players were being misused. Now, key young players like Amine Harit and Suat Serdar look like true superstars, and new faces Benito Raman, Ozan Kabak, and Markus Schubert are well on their way to being among the league’s best.

Wagner got the most out of the talent at his disposal and knew exactly how to maximize the strengths of his players, especially midfielders like Serdar and Omar Mascarell.

The future is bright in Gelsenkirchen, and Wagner is clearly an important part of the future as a manager. There were some discouraging results in the second half of the season, but much of that can be chalked up to injury. For now, the team is in great hands with Wagner running the show.