Schalke: Do not sleep on Rabbi Matondo in 2020-2021

Rabbi Matondo, Schalke 04 (Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Rabbi Matondo, Schalke 04 (Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

FC Schalke 04 forward Rabbi Matondo showed his potential in 2019-2020, so don’t overlook his chances of becoming a star in the Bundesliga next season.

On the surface, Rabbi Matondo didn’t have an exciting 2019-2020 Bundesliga season for FC Schalke 04. The teenage wide forward scored only once with no assists, barely featuring in 600 minutes for Die Knappen.

However, Matondo showed the traits that made many fans identify him as one of the Bundesliga’s top prospects prior to the start of the season. His goal, for example, came against one of the top teams in Europe in RB Leipzig. And not long afterwards, he was the best attacking player on the pitch in the Revierderby despite the star-studded Borussia Dortmund lineup.

Against Dortmund, Matondo failed to score, but he was so dangerous off the ball, making incredible runs to get in behind Dortmund’s suspect defense. He often cut in between the center backs as the main striker up top, making himself impossible to mark. And when he plays on either wing, Matondo is a workhorse, providing hard running and pressing, showing the perfect mentality for David Wagner’s system.

Scratching the surface of the stats, Matondo’s hard work would have been rewarded with more game time and luck. According to, if we remove dead ball situations, only star man Amine Harit and fellow young forward Ahmed Kutucu averaged more shots created per 90 minutes than Matondo. Since Harit and Kutucu are two of the best attacking players in the league (yes, Kutucu is that good!), that’s good company for Matondo. Additionally, Matondo was third in both dribbles and fouls drawn leading to shot attempts.

In that way, Matondo has shown signs of being a creator in a potential front three for Schalke. He was second on the team in through balls per 90 minutes, which hints at his initiative to get the ball forward in dangerous spaces. And speaking of dangerous spaces, only Guido Burgstaller, who is a target man and did not spend as much time in wide positions as Matondo, averaged more touches in the penalty area per 90 minutes.

Matondo has his issues, of course. He wins his battles on the dribbles fewer than half the time, and he led the team in errant touches per 90 minutes. Technique and ball-carrying aren’t Matondo’s strengths. But brilliance off-the-ball in reading the game, hard-work, and positional awareness are. Those are all key traits for a successful forward. With more minutes and trust from the coaching staff, the consistency can come and help Matondo become a star.

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Look for Matondo to take another step forward next season. The potential for production as a critical facilitator in the final third is there for the 19-year-old, who is indeed a tremendous fit in the Schalke lineup.