First Team

“It’ll be four points”

A confident Ridle Baku ahead of the second home game of the season against newly promoted Schalke.

After a draw against Bremen, a defeat away to Bayern and a tight win in the DFB Cup, it is difficult to say exactly where the Wolves stand at this early stage in proceedings. What is certain, however, is that the second home league game of the season offers a perfect opportunity for them to pick up some momentum. In a quick interview, VfL right-back Ridle Baku told us how he sees things ahead of the match against Schalke.

Ridle Baku, this is the second promoted side in a row to visit the Volkswagen Arena. Is that something you notice as players?

Ridle Baku: “Not really, to be honest. Werder Bremen have a long history in the Bundesliga and played some very good football against us on the opening day. Schalke will no doubt be similar and also give it their all. Having said that, I think that we’re the better team when you look at the individual players.”

Before they were relegated, playing the Royal Blues was always one of the highlights of the season for VfL. What’s it like now?

“It’s still the same. Schalke are a club rich in tradition, who’ve had their problems in the last few years but now they’re back where they belong. I’m really pleased that Schalke are back in the Bundesliga, but that doesn’t alter the fact that we’re going to do everything we can to win the match.”

Schalke are also on one point after two games. How do you rate them as a team?

Baku: “I think Schalke are a very aggressive opponent. We’re coming up against a team who really slog on the pitch and always give 100 per cent. It’ll be no easy task, we need to face them down, but if we manage to play at a consistent level over the full 90 minutes, we should come away with the win.”

2-2 at home to Werder and 0-2 away to Bayern – what have you taken from the first two games of the season?

Baku: “We had a really good pre-season but despite that, you never know exactly where you’re at to begin with. The draw with Bremen was a fair result, but then having to play Bayern, who are already on top form, was obviously not easy.”

If you include the cup tie at Jena, how do you assess the start to the season?

Baku: “For me, it’s too early to say. Give it another four or five games and then you’ll be able to see what the tendencies are. In the cup, we got through to the next round and that’s all that counts. In the league, we’re on one point at the moment, and then it’ll be four points at the weekend…”