Schalke: Grading each position group in 2019-2020 so far

Schalke 04, Amine Harit, Benito Raman (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
Schalke 04, Amine Harit, Benito Raman (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images) /
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FC Schalke, Ozan Kabak
Ozan Kabak of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /


The defense has long been Schalke’s calling card. Even last year when they were in the relegation battle, the Royal Blues were (barely) in the top half of the league in goals against.

In 2019-2020, Die Knappen surrendered 36 goals, meaning they were also ranked 9th in the league in goals against this past season.

However, this statistic does not acknowledge two things. Firstly, they allowed 10 goals in between two horrific losses to Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig, which brings down their average. Secondly, their defense and midfield were ravaged by injuries, including at the time of their matches against Bayern and Leipzig.

Schalke have the best center backs in the Bundesliga, and only Leipzig can say they are even in the discussion. Ozan Kabak is one of the league’s best, Salif Sane has been one of the league’s best, Benjamin Stambouli is excellent, Matija Nastasic is underrated, and Jean-Clair Todibo looked like a superstar upon becoming a regular starter when Kabak went down.

Basically, Schalke had five great center backs. They were also strong in the midfield, with Suat Serdar making tackles all over the place and Omar Mascarell reading the game beautifully as something of a third center back. Right back Jonjoe Kenny had discipline issues and could get beat badly, but he was decent at worst defensively. And left back Bastian Oczipka was one of the league’s better fullbacks.

Grade: A-