Schalke 04: More strikers isn’t the answer to the goal problem

Schalke 04 (Photo by DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Schalke 04 (Photo by DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

David Wagner seems to think that Schalke 04’s best hope of scoring goals again comes down to more strikers. Nope. That’s not the case at all.

Schalke 04 laid another egg against FC Augsburg to continue a hapless attacking streak that shows no indications of life. Thus far in 2020, they’ve scored just four goals and surrendered a whopping 22. Apparently, David Wagner’s best idea is to keep two strikers in the formation and rotate, rotate, rotate.

Even against Augsburg, what seemed like a 4-2-3-1 ended up being a 4-2-2, with Rabbi Matondo spending most of his time next to Michael Gregoritsch, not on the wings at all.

Which is odd, because when you look at how the Royal Blues have done with one striker vs how they’ve done with two strikers, you see a very clear picture.

Schalke 04 doesn’t need two strikers, they need creation

Using the 4-2-3-1 formation, and that even includes the Augsburg loss, Schalke has played 10 matches, scored 15. They’ve got five wins, three draws, and just two losses.

Change that to the 4-1-2-1-2 and the 4-1-3-2 formation and Die Knappen has played 12 matches, scored nine, conceded 19, won two, drawn six and lost four.

Not exactly a lot of confidence in those predominant two-striker sets, is there?

Against Augsburg, we saw why. I know it was called a 4-2-3-1, but with Matondo acting like a striker, we suffered from the same problems. Although this time, there were better signs, provided in part by Alessandro Schopf.

But the problem for the Royal Blues does not begin and end with who’s up top. It’s certainly a contributing factor, but the problem comes from not creating attacking moves that present a significant threat to goal. Strikers can only do as much as what is provided them, unfortunately, and for Schalke, not much is being provided them.

Maybe that’s because Amine Harit wasn’t out there, but there have to be more solutions to the problem than getting Amine Harit back. There are other creative minds out there and I’d much rather be seeing two creative midfielders, like Harit and Schopf combined, sitting behind a single striker. That way we have more movement, more penetration, more joy off the ball. It’s either that or we keep wasting two guys up top when other solutions need to be tried.

Next. Schalke vs Augsburg Player Ratings. dark

It’s not like we’ve tried much of it either. What single-striker sets we have tried have involved investment in the wings, but with a lack of true wingers, that may also prove secondary to a double creative set.