Bundesliga Team Report: Schalke 04
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve picked out some of the best FM20 saves in the Bundesliga. In this series finale, we’re focusing on a side that are one of Germany’s biggest but have not lifted the title since 1958.
You’ve got the chance to not just win the Bundesliga but create a dynasty from a team that oozes potential.
The Ruhr region was traditionally the industrial powerhouse of Germany but industrial isn’t a word that can be used to describe Schalke 04, one of the region’s biggest teams. Die Königsblauen have a a squad packed with exciting young talent and look set to challenge for the top four in the coming seasons.
Schalke fans might not have had a great deal to cheer about domestically, but the club has had enjoyed some success in Europe. They bagged the EURO Cup in 1996/97 and have made regular appearances in the knockout rounds of the both the Champions Cup and EURO Cup in recent years. Your ultimate aim should be to bring some European silverware back to the Veltins-Arena.
You’ll be up against Schalke’s fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table and will initially be the underdog in that particular rivalry. Der BVB have a wonderkid-laden side of their own so overhauling them will be no mean feat. Here’s everything you need to know to make that happen.
Media Prediction: 5th
Board Expectation: Qualify for the EURO Cup
Both the board and the media are in agreement that you should be looking to finish just outside the top four in your first season. That should be very achievable given the talent you’ll have at your disposal. You’ll likely find yourself competing with the likes of Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach and TSG Hoffenheim for the EURO Cup places. A win in the league against Dortmund wouldn’t go amiss either.
You’ve got a pretty solid transfer budget to see you through the first window. You should be able to bring in one or two squad players or a prospect to complement your existing resources. The club has a good infrastructure in place so expect some financial backing from the board if you meet their expectations on the pitch.
One of your key objectives throughout the club’s five-year plan is to develop the best youth system in the country. No small feat given the standard you’re up against. To do this, you’ll have to spend some money each year on your facilities and youth coaching setup, but this has great long-term benefits.
Looking ahead, the eventual aim by the end of the 2023/24 season is that you’ll establish yourself as the ‘best in the rest’, most probably behind FC Bayern München. But, of course, you won’t want to settle for that.
We’ve talked up Schalke’s thriving crop of youngsters and you’re blessed with standout talent across all areas of the pitch. Rabbi Matondo, Weston McKennie and Amine Harit are all poised to provide you with a strong midfield for years to come. Ozan Kabak could become a massive presence in your defence and, if you take care with his development, should become one of the very best in the league.
Ahmed Kutucu is a young striker with some impressive attributes that are crying out to be built upon; boosting his physical numbers in particular would be a very wise move. Markus Schubert is primed to step into the number one goalkeeper spot when Alexander Nübel departs for FC Bayern München at the end of your first season in charge.
With all of these young players, it’s crucial that you give them regular playing time in the position and role that you want them to play going forward. Give them a chance to strike up partnerships with the established players in the squad and build a solid base for the seasons to come.
It’d be worth investing in some more attacking options over the coming seasons, to give you more firepower and to replace some of the veterans in the squad.
Nastasic is your most dependable defender with solid ratings across his technical, mental and physical attributes. Marking, Defending, Positioning and Tackling are his best categories which makes him a formidable opponent for any attacker. Use him as your main central defender and then rotate between Kabak, Salif Sané and the on-loan Jean-Clair Todibo.
You’ve got great options on the flanks at Schalke. On the left, Harit is the obvious choice but on the right it’s tough to decide on your first choice. Benito Raman is rapid. Alessandro Schöpf is more technically sound. Our preference is to go with Schöpf as he has a touch more potential ability and is more comfortable in a wider variety of roles. His dribbling skill and decent acceleration allow him to attack the full-back while his excellent Stamina and Work Rate mean he’ll track up and down the pitch all day long.
Quite simply your best striker in your first season in charge. You might want to give Kutucu plenty of game time but Burgstaller will be your main goalscoring threat while the youngster develops. At 30, Burgstaller isn’t going to be a long-term talisman but can produce the goods for a couple of seasons at least. The Austrian international reads the game well, has decent pace and – most importantly – knows where the goal is.
Away from the young stars already integrated into the first-team squad, there are several eye-catching talents in the youth setup. Bernard Tekpetey is probably the best of the bunch. He’s 21, on loan at fellow Bundesliga outfit Fortuna Düsseldorf and can use his experience from that spell to boost your chances in the second season. Behind him, central midfielder Jimmy Kaparos should be ready to move into the senior squad within a couple of seasons. Malick Thiaw looks like another one who could find himself in your first-team plans before too long. Of course, if you continue to invest in your youth setup you should find plenty more wonderkids coming through the ranks.
The Final Word
Schalke 04 represent one of the best long-term projects in the Bundesliga. You’ve got a talented young squad who will develop strongly and the option to bring in another wonderkid or two to boost your attacking options. There’s also the small matter of overhauling your biggest rival and then going on to mount a title challenge against the dominant FC Bayern München. It’s been over half a century since Schalke were the top dogs in German football but with the right signings and some focus on player development, you can put them back on that perch.
Become an Insider for the latest feature drops and game upgrades, as well as the very best Football Manager content from the community and hand-picked partner offers.
We have sent you an email with a link to verify your account and become a fully-fledged member.
Something went wrong! Please try again.