Germany: Bundesliga
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Schalke 04
FC Köln
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Reis to rely on Fährmann in relegation fight: "Has always put himself in the service of the team."

Schalke 04 trainer Thomas Reis has given every indication that keeper Alexander Schwolow's benching is permanent. 
Though not much is going right for last-placed Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04, the Königsblauen were at least able to commemorate their first points of the new calendar year during their official start to the second half of the season on Sunday night. Standing in goal as the keeper of a clean-sheet was none other than 34-year-old former Schalke academy produce Ralf Fährmann.

The team's former longtime #1 made his first appearance of the season. After serving as the top-choice net-minder during the 2020/21 relegation campaign, Fährmann lost his starting position early in Schalke's 2021/22 season in the 2. Bundesliga. Schalke acquired Alexander Schwolow on loan from Hertha BSC in order to procure a keeper capable of competing in the top-flight this year.

Schwolow's many inconsistencies evidently became too much for Reis. As Schalke kicked off the second half of their campaign, Fährmann stood between the sticks. Both Reis and Fährmann spoke to German broadcaster DAZN after the full-time whistle. Reis strongly suggested that this change would be permanent.

"The coach has honored my performance in training," Fährmann noted, "Of course, it's not about personalities, but about the club staying in the first division. I'll try to fulfill my duty and give the boys a bit of the 'Schalke Gene' on the pitch."

Reis too seemed convinced that the idea of a "Schalke gene" could help his team as they gird up for an exceptionally tough relegation dogfight. Reis didn't wish to specifically discuss Schwolow in his post match interview, but did confirm that he selected Fährmann for a reason.

"[After losing his spot], he never gave up and always put himself at the service of the team," Reis noted,  "He has now been rewarded for this at the start of the second half of the season."

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