Mark, first of all, how was your summer break?
I spent two weeks in Bali with some very good friends. It was wonderful and relaxing. We did a lot together.
Everyone on social media saw that you came back from holiday early to start training…
That’s true. I started to work two, three weeks before my teammates came back. For two months I could hardly do anything, so it was important for me to come back earlier
You mainly trained alone during the training camp in Herzlake, but took part in a few drills with the team. How good does it feel to be back among the squad?
I want to be able to do more. But I need to slowly work my way back in and increase the workload. It feels good and I’m having fun. After more than three months, it’s about time.
Alessandro Schöpf and Daniel Caligiuri are also working their way back to fitness. How much do you motivate each other?
We all get on very well and push each other along. It would definitely be harder if we were alone. It works well with this dynamic.
The plan is to have you back fully in team training by the end of July. Is the cup game or Bundesliga opener a realistic goal?
It’s difficult to say. My fitness is good, but there’s obviously room for a lot more. I’ll try to keep making progress in the next few weeks, but we haven’t set a fixed goal. After that I still need a little time. My goal is to play in the cup match, but we’ll have to wait and see.
My goal is to play in the cup match, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Last season – with the exception of your national team debut – didn’t quite go to plan for you. What are your goals for the new season?
First of all, it’s important that I get fit again, can train with the team and consistently give my all. We have many big games ahead, especially right at the start. I’m looking forward to being back in the Arena and fighting for our colours again.
What positives will you take from the disappointing last season?
The season wasn’t good from us as a team, but also from me. The only good thing is that it can only get better this year. We need to chalk it off and look ahead now.
What gives you confidence that the whole team can move forward in the new season?
We’re playing a completely different style of football with high pressing and a more attack-minded focus. We want to be able to play our way through games. I believe that could suit my style of play very well, but also that of the whole team. If things go as they have in training, we’ll have a very good season.
What are your impressions so far of the new coaching staff?
Very positive. Everything makes sense, the coaches know exactly which areas they are working on. We are shown in small video segments exactly where we are lacking, even in friendlies. That’s good. Everyone in the team knows what his job is and that he needs to give 100%. Now the competition for places is really under way, which invigorates the team.
Everyone in the team knows what his job is and that he needs to give 100%. Now the competition for places is really under way, which invigorates the team.
The backroom staff has also been revamped. How do you benefit from that?
Everything is more professional. Schalke wants to have a bigger team behind the team and, in my opinion, that’s extremely important for a top club. We players are expected to be aware of certain areas like nutrition or psychology. That’s why we have got new people in and that can be important for us during the season, particularly by the end.
David Wagner recently praised the doctors and physio team for their great work and commitment. How has your experience been?
These people are obviously very important for me in my rehabilitation, as they do a lot with me. I’m very pleased about that because of how professionally and meticulously they work. The physios especially, who are very important for our team, do a phenomenal job. We players can be very grateful to them for that.