Schalke 04 will be without Suat Serdar for the rest of the season, which allows the next incarnation of him to step up. And there’s two to choose from.
With so little going right for Schalke 04, it’s no surprise that the pie of grief is becoming even heavier. Now, Suat Serdar is out of the season after tearing the outer ligament in his left knee against FC Augsburg. Just another gem to take out of that match.
While that’s no fun, it does mean that one of our two other Serdar incarnations gets to step in and see if they can do the job that Serdar is vacating. Those two being Nassim Boujellab and Levent Mercan.
The thing is, both of these young midfielders are on the cusp of more first-team actions but, much like Ahmed Kutucu, the opportunities just haven’t come. That changes now, with midfielders dropping like flies. With only Alessandro Schopf to mind the creative duties, David Wagner is going to have to turn to one of, if not both these midfielders.
Which Suat Serdar replacement do Schalke 04 choose?
The question is, who is he more likely to turn to and, by that standard, who is more likely to step up and do the job?
Thus far into the season, Wagner has turned to Boujellab more often than Mercan. Boujellab has made three starts and six substitute appearances while Mercan has just four substitute appearances. Boujellab also has a leg up in the size department, as well as playing a more traditional midfield role to Mercan’s attacking midfield preference. That didn’t stop Wagner from using Mercan in traditional central roles this year, however.
Going back to the youth statistics, Boujellab has the more sustained results, but Mercan is more of a recent thing. He’s had a burst since joining the U19s, accounting for 11 goals and 18 assists in 57 appearances, while Boujellab is at nine goals and six assists in 50 appearances.
It’s such a tight race that there really isn’t going to be a winner or loser. Mercan figures to be more of an Amine Harit fill-in while Boujellab is the more likely replacement for Serdar. But again, with David Wagner, anything is possible. Except for starting Ahmed Kutucu, apparently.
Look for Boujellab against Dusseldorf. We’ll probably see Mercan at some point too, but it’s Boujellab that’s the more applicable relevant Serdar replacement. He’s been looking really good anyway and, as I keep mentioning, this is secretly exciting.