The team has returned to Gelsenkirchen following their eight-day training camp in Mittersill, Austria. Sascha Riether spoke to Schalke04.com about Coke’s injury, his ability to speak Spanish, the anticipation ahead of the new season and Schalke day
Sascha Riether, pre-season is slowly coming to an end. How do you think it has gone so far?
We have a very long and intense pre-season behind us, during which we have spent many weeks together. We have done a lot, worked hard and been able to practice a lot of things during this time. I also think that we have brought in some great new players, who are great additions to the team, both from a personal and sporting perspective. You can say that we are a team. I am honestly really happy that it will be over soon and the season will finally be kicking off – first with our DFB Cup match in Villingen and then the start of the Bundesliga in Frankfurt.
The big Schalke day is taking place on Sunday. How have the team been preparing for the event?
We’re excited. A lot of fans will be coming and we obviously want to have a great day prepared for them. I spent a lot of time with the fans at the table football table last year and that was really fun. I also hope that we’ll be able to get a win against Athletic Bilbao, so that we’ll be able to have a positive mindset going into the season.
New boy Coke, who has got along well with you since his arrival, won’t have to have his cruciate ligament operated on. The news must have put the squad in a better mood following his unfortunate injury?
True. We are happy about the news that Coke’s injury looks to be a little better than originally thought becauseCoke isn’t just a good player but also a great guy. The whole team is obviously hoping that he will return as soon as possible.
What have you thought of Coke’s first few days?
He didn’t take long at all to settle in. Despite the language barrier, he has made an effort to get to know each member of the squad and tried to fit into all parts of the team.
You have been helping Coke to overcome the language barrier…
Yeah, I learnt Spanish for five years at school so I’ve often been able to help translate for the Spanish players so far in my career. I obviously gave Coke the same support when he arrived in the team. We have spoken a lot in Spanish so he was able to fit in very well.
What do you see as your role for the coming season?
The coaches and the management know that I am a very versatile player who they can count on. We will have a lot of games during the season and I am ready if needed. My aim is to help the team both on and off the pitch.