Michael, you’ve signed on for another two years. How did that come about?
Jochen Schneider came to me, we had a chat and very quickly came to an agreement. I’m very proud to have extended my contract and to continue being a part of this great club.
Your career so far has seen you play in Scandinavia and the USA. Were there other options on the table for you?
There were one or two enquiries, but for me it was always clear that I wanted to speak to Schalke first and stay at the club.
What has been your finest moment so far at Schalke?
The first thing that springs to mind is obviously coming second last season. That was quite a special experience. There were also other moments that I will always look back on in the future.
You’ve had two very different seasons with Schalke. First, we finished second, and then this season didn’t quite go to plan…
It has been a very intense year, which felt like it went on forever. It was difficult for us all. We didn’t perform how we expect to on the pitch, which is why we finished in 14th. We need to draw a line under the season and analyse what went wrong. Then next week we’ll go again!
I’m very proud to extend my contract here.
Were there phases in the season, when things weren’t going so well, that experienced players like yourself and Sascha Riether were called upon for advice?
Absolutely. We may not have been in the starting XI, but we’ve both experienced a lot throughout our careers with different clubs. That included some bad times, which some of the younger players hadn’t yet experienced themselves. When, as a team, you fail to meet the expectations of the club and fans, when the results aren’t going your way, then of course you lose confidence. I think Sascha and I were able to help one or two players by having chats with them and offering advice.
Your role in the team is quite clear. How difficult is it to motivate yourself every day in training, knowing that more than likely you won’t be playing on the weekend?
I don’t find it difficult at all, I actually see it differently. Every player in the team needs to play their part to help the team be successful. I try to do that day in, day out. And I think I succeed quite well.
There was a change between the sticks after the winter break. Did the chemistry within the group change?
No, absolutely not. The coach made his decision and everyone accepted it. We continued to push and help each other after that. Ralle dealt with the situation excellently and left his ego out of it. I think that says a lot about our goalkeeping team.
Do the goalkeepers spend a lot of time together away from the pitch too?
Yes, often. Sometimes we’ll go for dinner somewhere, other times we’ll do a BBQ.
Ralle dealt with the situation excellently and left his ego out of it. I think that says a lot about our goalkeeping team.
Who normally pays?
We have a pot among the goalkeepers in which we all pay in regularly. Sometimes we’ll have a competition during or after training and the loser has to put a fiver in. Sometimes it’ll be goal kicks, other times penalties.
Do you already have an idea of what you’ll do after your career ends?
Firstly, I hope I can play a few more years. Until now I haven’t had any physical problems, but once I finally hang up my proverbial boots, I definitely want to stay in football in some way. Whether that’s as a goalkeeping coach, as a coach or in another role, I don’t know yet. I will continue learning and try to get a taste for other areas too.