Schalke 04 - Augsburg

Germany: Bundesliga
Schalke 04 S. Serdar (4)

Mark Uth fit in time to face source of early-season trauma

By Peter Vice

Soon-to-be relegated Bundesliga club FC Schalke 04 may at least take some solace in the fact that their long lists of injuries are clearing up in time for Sunday's match against Augsburg. 

For one player, a fixture against the Fuggerstädter comes attached with a rather abhorrent flashback. 

Mark Uth.
Mark Uth.Photo: Sandro Halank, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Attacker Gonçalo Paciência finally made his long awaited return to the pitch last week. As S04 trainer Dimitrios Grammozis seeks his first win on the Schalke sidelines, he can also be grateful that lead striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, defender Salif Sané, and keeper Ralf Fährmann are once again fit.

Grammozis once again has arguably his most creative offensive player fit as well. Mark Uth returns from a muscle fiber tear incurred in February. Whether or not coach and player are prepared to push aside some traumatic memories, however, remains to be seen.

It has been, to put it mildly, a consistently tumultuous campaign for the 29-year-old. Uth began the season as one of the many players on the Schalke roster who observably looked frustrated to be back in royal blue. The Köln native wished to remain at his hometown club after spending the first half of 2020 there.

The infamous post-match interview following a November loss to Wolfsburg went viral across the globe. Uth made clear that the state of his current club left him close to tears. Then came the unforgettable scenes at the WWK Arena. Uth lay motionless on the pitch for a full ten minutes after a horrific head collision. He later had to watch his team blow the game by conceding a late goal from his hospital bed.

Grammozis happened to be watching that Manuel Baum coached game. At a Friday press round up, the trainer conceded that he "had to look away" after Uth dropped listless to the pitch following an aerial challenge with Felix Udoukhai. The Königsblauen gaffer nevertheless appeared to have no qualms or superstitions about inserting Uth back into the lineup to face Udoukhai directly again. Grammozis indicated that Uth looked "fully stable" in team training.

Although it no longer appears as if red;egastion can be averted, die Knappen find themselves in desperate need of a small moral victory at the Veltins Arena on Sunday. Still another ignominious record threatens them. Having gone five fixtures without a goal on home turf, Schalke can tie Freiburg (2009/10) and Stuttgart (2014/15) for the longest league home goalless streak.

At the presser, Grammozis mostly deflected questions about his very public disappointment with Shkodran Mustafi, simply lauding the player's effort during the training week and leaving a possible return to the XI open.

Schalke 04
1Ralf Fährmann
31Timo Becker
17Benjamin Stambouli
33Malick Thiaw
38Mehmet-Can Aydin
8Suat Serdar
6Omar Mascarell (C)
40Can Bozdogan ↩78
24Bastian Oczipka ↩74
21Klaas-Jan Huntelaar ↩84
25Amine Harit ↩84
23Frederik Rønnow
18Gonçalo Paciência ↪84
43Matthew Hoppe ↪84
20Sead Kolašinac ↪74
26Salif Sané
30Shkodran Mustafi ↪78
28Alessandro Schöpf
42Kerim Çalhanoğlu
1Rafał Gikiewicz
32Raphael Framberger
6Jeffrey Gouweleeuw (C)
19Felix Uduokhai
2Robert Gumny ↩71
8Rani Khedira ↩46
25Carlos Gruezo
20Daniel Caligiuri ↩71
16Ruben Vargas ↩79
23Marco Richter
28André Hahn ↩79
40Tomáš Koubek
7Florian Niederlechner ↪71
11Michael Gregoritsch ↪79
3Mads Pedersen ↪71
5Marek Suchý
17Noah-Joel Sarenren-Bazee
18László Bénes ↪79
33Tobias Strobl ↪46
36Reece Oxford

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