Schalke 04: Celebrate Salif Sane’s return, don’t moan his performance

Schalke 04, Salif Sane (Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Schalke 04, Salif Sane (Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Schalke welcomed Salif Sane back to the starting XI in the Revierderby and, unfortunately, it didn’t go well. But we should still celebrate his return.

Finding positives to talk about after the Revierderby was a chore, as Schalke capitulated in the worst possible way. Even worse than Bayern and Leipzig and Koln because this was Dortmund. The club that we should never be beaten like this by.

But there were positives, despite how hard they were to find, and one such positive was the return of Salif Sane, not just to training, but to the starting XI. The hulking Senegalese-French defender returned to action for the first time since early November and while his performance left a lot to be desired, the fact that he’s back at all shouldn’t.

Sane started off as the centermost centerback in a back three, flanked by Matija Nastasic and Jean-Clair Todibo, but when Todibo came off at half, Sane swapped into a more traditional back four alongside Nastasic.

Schalke should be celebrating Salif Sane regardless of results

Neither defensive set-up provided any optimism in terms of stopping the Dortmund attack, but we really have to think long and hard about what Sane has gone through between his supposedly season-ending injury and now.

After a serious knee injury that kept him out for 113 days, Sane would have already been rusty on his return, nevermind the fact that the team wasn’t training because of the pause. That rust is natural and it happens to literally everyone coming off a serious injury that costs them months of recovery with no form of competitive energy being generated from match play.

Conceivably, it would have taken Sane a few matches just to get himself back into full match fitness. But then factor in that the team couldn’t even train for two months because of the COVID situation and suddenly there’s not even a playbook for this kind of thing. What’s it like to go from a serious injury to a mandatory layoff? We wouldn’t know. We’ve never been here before.

So yeah, Salif Sane struggled. But he’s still Salif Sane and you can bet that he is going to be back at his best, and getting better and better, as the year rolls forward. He’s the anchor of this defense and he will get it all back into gear soon.

Next. 5 Positives Despite Revierderby Result. dark

It’s important to keep perspective here. Just because the team struggled doesn’t mean that all these quality players are losing it. These are unprecedented times and guys like Salif Sane will come back just as strong as before.