Well, the half-time whistle has blown and it’s time for a (very) brief period of consideration. Our pre-season tour of Germany is over, but the action will resume on home turf very soon.
Was our Westphalian excursion successful? Yes, I would say so and for several reasons. In the simplest of terms, we return to the currently humid shores of Norfolk, England, undefeated following said tour.
After a, by all accounts, feisty encounter with Armenia Bielefeld, we achieved a 2-2 draw with the absolute bonus that Ben Godfrey’s ankle injury proved not to be serious, borne out by the fact that he played the full 90 minutes and 30 seconds against Schalke 04 as recently as Friday.
So relief all round and particularly for Daniel Farke I would imagine.
Beating German fourth-tier outfit SC Bonner 4-1 was probably no more than a distraction, but Adam Idah notched a brace in that game and by doing so must surely have cemented the #35 first-team squad shirt as his own, wherever that might lead him, and indeed us.
Beating Schalke cannot have harmed our confidence despite the oft-used maxim that friendlies count for nothing. However, I bet our lads had no wish to lose any of those fixtures.
Grant Hanley will never be a speed merchant and I really hope Zimbo returns to fitness asap.
Luckily for us, those suffering on-tour injuries should largely be back very soon, as in Emi Buendia, Timm Klose, and Kenny McLean. Better to pick up nagging niggles in pre-season than after August 9.
Oh, and Teemu Pukki acquired two goals and an assist in about 75 per cent playing time over the three games.
Plus Moritz Leitner was by all accounts a class act against Schalke, even if his goal was a little – okay, a big – bit fortunate.
And that’s a bonus for us all.
So we shortly resume proceedings against Brentford and Luton, followed by Atalanta and Toulouse. I shall be at both of the Carrow Road friendlies and will be really interested to see the tweaks Daniel Farke has apparently made at first hand.
When we kick-off against Atalanta, we will truly know the new season is imminent.
Hopefully, it will be my first glimpse of Patrick, Josip and Ralf, who apparently Schalke manager David Wagner refers to as “Ralle”, which must surely be akin us calling big Grant “Holty”.
“Look after him for us,” said the official 04 site, and I’m sure we will.
That’s the universal language of football, even with its own specific nuances.
— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) July 19, 2019
The old hackles haven’t stood up on my neck yet, but they will do so very soon now.
So less than three weeks of the “phoney war” to go but I’ll leave readers with an interim thought.
I bought the home shirt the day it came out and also, a little later, the long-sleeved grey training top as often sported by Daniel Farke. I really like both of them and although we all know they’re relatively expensive they’re quality, so in my mind well worth the outlay.
But I won’t be acquiring the away shirt.
It reminds me of a Liverpool top from the 1990s.
But, as they say, two out of three ain’t bad.