Schalke 04: Ozan Kabak return makes things easy on David Wagner

There’s relatively nothing “easy” for Schalke 04 these days, but Ozan Kabak’s imminent return does make things easier, for what that’s worth.

Over the last several months, nothing has been easy for Schalke. Everything has been falling to pieces bit by bit, both on the pitch and off, and they are really due a good turn of fate. Amine Harit’s injury was just one more dollop of oil on the fire, but Ozan Kabak‘s return makes things easy—the rarest thing in Gelsenkirchen these days.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing about this awful run of form is the defense. All year, the defense has stood up to the task of counterbalancing a sometimes awful attack, and that just hasn’t been the case lately.

You can’t even blame injuries either. We’ve seen Matija Nastasic and Jean-Clair Todibo perform so well under pressure but, lately, no matter who is back there, it’s been a complete collapse.

Schalke 04 needs easy, and Ozan Kabak is easy

Even when Ozan Kabak was still healthy, he was part of the collapse too. Just complete defensive ineptitude and a complete shattering of confidence. It’s been tragic to see.

But the worst of it is behind us. The confidence-breaking teams are gone and all that the Royal Blues have ahead is a streak of matches that they should win. It’s no guarantee, but it’s a start, and with that start, we have a defense at nearly full health.

The one centerback pairing we have yet to see is the pairing between the two best defenders we have—Salif Sane and Ozan Kabak. While they’ve been in and out of health, David Wagner has been trying new things and new combinations, but nothing has worked. Whether back three or four, it’s all fallen to pieces.

The only thing that hasn’t fallen to pieces is a Sane/Kabak combination, and that makes things incredibly easy for Wagner for the first time… ever?

He doesn’t have to get creative at all for this defense. He can just stick Sane and Kabak back there and know that he has done all he possibly can to build the best defense he can build. It’s the same argument I use for Ahmed Kutucu—as long as he starts him, he’s done all he could.

Just knowing that Kabak is back in business in this defense gives hope that maybe things will get easier. That maybe this defense can hold it together while the attack sorts itself out.