The Search for a Reliable Striker Continues at Schalke

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 06: Mark Uth of Schalke 04 looks on during the DFB Pokal Cup match between FC Schalke 04 and Fortuna Duesseldorf at Veltins-Arena on February 06, 2019 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)

It was only last season that Schalke finished second in the Bundesliga. Runners-up, Domenico Tedesco’s team overachieved, ending the season above rivals Borussia Dortmund. This season, however, has been very different. Suffering a shocking start to the season, Schalke sat bottom of the table after matchday five. The club have fallen victim to their own transfer policy, unfortunate injuries and an inconsistent bunch of strikers.

The Search for a Reliable Striker Continues at Schalke

The Mark Uth Experiment is Failing

Signed on a free transfer last summer, striker Mark Uth has failed to deliver. Brought in from Hoffenheim, Uth was seen as an upgrade in Gelsenkirchen. However, the 27-year-old has been inconsistent and unreliable. Scoring just four times in 21 appearances, it’s time for Tedesco to move on. Failing to make an impact, Uth isn’t entirely to blame. One thing you can’t accuse him of is a lack of effort. Giving his all for the team, the German has been affected by a lack of service and some poor decisions made by his manager.

Last summer saw the team lose both Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka. Two useful midfielders, both played a key role in Tedesco’s team. With both players moving on, Schalke were left with two big holes to fill. Failing to fill the void, Schalke are left with a lack of goals and creativity in midfield. This has played a big role in Uth’s struggles, as well as the teams other strikers. Some of the blame also falls on Tedesco. In an attempt to help Uth, Tedesco also hindered his forward. Playing the Germany international out of position on occasion, Uth and Tedesco are both to blame for the player’s struggles.

Injuries Holding The Team Back

Uth hasn’t been the only striker to struggle at Schalke this season. Bundesliga veterans Franco Di Santo and Guido Burgstaller join Uth on the list of disappointing forwards at the club. Di Santo, who left the club in January, barely featured during the first half of the season. The former Premier League striker played six games, failing to score a goal. Burgstaller’s lack of form has been surprising. Scoring 13 goals in the league last season, the 29-year-old was vital to the team’s success. Dealing with injuries this campaign, the Austrian striker has scored just two league goals. Just like Uth, Burgstaller is a striker starved of service, causing his goals tally to drop significantly.

Hampered by injuries all season, Schalke have also been without one of their best young players. Breel Embolo is currently out with a fractured foot and his absence is noticeable. One of the team’s more mobile forwards, the Swiss scored two goals in his nine league games this season. Those numbers make the 21-year-old one of Schalke’s better strikers this campaign. An unfortunate injury, Embolo is a big loss, as Tedesco is still without a consistent option up front.

Youth Options

In a desperate attempt to find a reliable striker, Tedesco has turned to his youth options. The manager’s desperation is, of course, a great opportunity for Haji Wright and Ahmed Kutucu. Both prolific in Schalke’s youth teams, the two players have combined to score 19 goals at youth level. Given their chance in the first-team, it didn’t take long for both players to make an impact. Scoring twice in just six games, Kutucu has impressed. Described by his manager as a “great character”, the 18-year-old forward is sure to get more chances as the season goes on. Wright has also been involved in the first-team squad in recent weeks. Scoring one goal in six games, the 20-year-old American has made a good impression. These are two players who are expected to play a role for the remainder of the season. With the clubs experienced players failing to deliver, Tedesco has nothing to lose by playing two hungry young strikers.

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