Schalke’s midfield had it all when they were healthy. Omar Mascarell had a massive breakout season from out of nowhere, becoming the glue guy in David Wagner’s system. By the end of the season, the Spanish No. 6 replaced Alexander Nübel as team captain, and he definitely has all the properties of a true leader at the heart of a team.
Next to him, Suat Serdar was even better. Serdar is in the discussion as the Bundesliga’s best all-around midfielder, having led Schalke in goals with seven and tackles per game (2.8) among players with at least 10 Bundesliga appearances.
Weston McKennie chipped in and became a key contributor after Serdar’s injury, while Daniel Caligiuri provided width, great set pieces, and tenacious cover for Jonjoe Kenny on the right.
But Schalke’s most important player was Amine Harit. He earned himself an extension at the midway point of the season and was legitimately a Player of the Year candidate. Harit scored important goals and made game-winning assists, bossing games with his individual quality and vision. With smarter and more clinical forward play, Harit would have been near the top of the assist charts.
The problem is that Schalke lacked depth in midfield. Caligiuri and Alessandro Schöpf provided quality defending and some width, but they were sloppy with their passing in the final third. And Caligiuri’s lack of pace eventually became a problem.
Still, Harit, Mascarell, and Serdar were three of the league’s best players, and they ensure the Royal Blues receive high marks here.