Jonjoe, up next is your first ever Revierderby: how much tension is there?
I’m really looking forward to playing in a game with such a special atmosphere. I know just how much this game means to everyone in and around the club. I have experiences in this type of fixture from playing in the Merseyside derby for Everton against Liverpool. I know what the fans expect from us, and how hard we need to work in order to be successful.
Both sets of fans have been looking forward to this game for weeks; what have you gathered about it so far?
You can tell when there’s a derby around the corner. As a player, you know that it’s no ordinary match. But it’s important not to lose focus, and to keep doing what the coach expects from us. He will set out a good game plan for us to win the game, and we will try to stick to it.
I know what the fans expect from us and how hard we need to work in order to be successful.
We won the last derby, despite a disappointing season overall: Has this game been spoken about in the dressing room?
I’ve spoken about it with some of my teammates. In that game it was clear to see just how special this derby is. I know that it was also a very important match for Schalke because of the league table, and the victory was incredibly important for the entire club.
You have experience of playing in derby matches in the past, both at youth level and for Everton’s first team. What do you remember about these games?
They were always special occasions. They are always the most important matches of the season for the fans in Liverpool – and they were for me as well. As soon as the fixture list was published, the first thought on my mind was always to look for when the derby was. It was a really special moment for me and my family when I started my first derby.
It was a really special moment for me and my family when I started my first derby.
In what way can the Merseyside derby be compared to the Revierderby?
Schalke fans and Everton fans are both unbelievable. I haven’t played in a Revierderby yet, but I’ve heard a lot about how important it is. I’m really looking forward to it.
As a player, to what extent can you feel how special a derby is during the match?
Every player is desperate to win a derby. As soon as the first whistle is blown, it’s up to you to deliver a good performance, not to panic, to follow the coach’s game plan and to give it your all.
Schalke and Dortmund are currently very close to each other in the table. What do you make of BVB’s season so far?
They have a strong team with lots of good players. But that’s just the way it is in the Bundesliga; you come up against top sides with top players. However, it’s more important to focus on our own game. Our aim is to put the opponent under pressure and to play our own style of football.