Schalke vs Dortmund: Is the band back together again?

Ozan Kabak of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Ozan Kabak of FC Schalke 04 (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

Schalke’s woes began with their injuries, but in the lead-up to the Revierderby, that is changing, and the band may well be back together.

There were a lot of contributing factors to Schalke‘s struggles leading up to the pause, but injuries were a major part of it. Key midfielders and defenders were ruled out for lengthy periods of time with injuries that were supposed to knock them out for the rest of the season, but looking at photos from the team training session, the band may be getting back together.

Or rather, getting together for the first time.

While kicking a ball around in training is far from irrefutable evidence that a player is healthy, there were two key players that showed up in the training video doing some pretty encouraging activities—running, high-kicking, on-the-ball drills. Basically, the kind of stuff you’d have to do in a match, minus the contact.

Schalke 04 are getting the band back together! Or rather, for the first time

Those two guys were Ozan Kabak and Salif Sane. Our two best defenders, never before united in a backline.

Both of these two, plus Benjamin Stambouli, were supposed to be out for the year, but given the long lay-off, they’ve gotten a leg up on returning ahead of schedule. And the thought that they could be ready to team up against Dortmund is tantalizing.

Die Knappen’s defense has been a focal point of the club’s successes this year, as they’ve weathered gobs of injuries while ensuring that they stayed in competition for a European league place. Kabak was only thrust into action in the first place because Sane and Stambouli were ruled out with their respective injuries, which thus propelled Kabak to prove himself as arguably our best defender.

But the numbers back Salif Sane as the best aerial defender in the world in addition to what we already know he can accomplish.

These two prolific defenders, when teamed together, could be the key to building a foundation that Schalke can vault up the table from. The fact that they went through the rut they did while still maintaining this position is testament mostly to their defensive stability, but that stability can become something much bigger and better and dare I say world-class if we get the Kabak/Sane band together. For the first time. In the Revierderby.

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Time will tell. Again, it was only training, but Sane, in particular, was looking really agile and capable. Don’t forget how incredible this team can be.