Schalke 04 are currently experiencing their best run of form in the Bundesliga for some time. Currently unbeaten in 5 matches and having only conceded one goal, the royal blues have given themselves a fighting chance for survival. It must also be noted that 4 of these 5 games have ended 0-0, but it’s positive signs nonetheless.
As reported by Bild, one of the main factors for the turnaround in form is the change of goalkeepers. Under former number one Alexander Schwolow, S04 were averaging 0.53 points per game. The 30-year-old has conceded 41 goals in total this season and has a shot-to-save ratio of 59.8%.
Since playing Ralf Fährmann at the start of 2023, the 34-year-old has played five matches and conceded just one. The side are now averaging 1.4 points per game with Fährmann having an impressive shot-to-save ratio of 93.3%. What’s more, 77.4% of Fährmann’s long-range passes are completed. With Schwolow, only 37.6% of his long-range passes met their intended destination.
It was a tough 2022 in the Bundesliga for Schwolow and the rest of the squad. The goalkeeper would certainly have been low on confidence which enforces more mistakes. Bringing in Fährmann, who is ready to prove himself and doesn’t carry any negative psychological baggage, is proving to be a turning point for S04.
Fährmann and his defence appear much more solid since the turn of the year. Though they don’t score many, they’re proving hard to break down and are picking up points against more impressive opponents. Schalke’s win against Stuttgart last weekend has given the team and their fans something to believe in. Many believed they were down and out. However, now just three points off safety with plenty of football to be played, it’s in their hands.
Schalke can move off the bottom of the table for the first time since matchday 11 should they beat fellow relegation rivals VfL Bochum on Saturday.
GGFN | Jamie Allen