Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04’s World Cup winning youngster was delighted with the point his side earned against FC Bayern München on Saturday evening, claiming it was “a victory for the team.”
'We woke up after we conceded'
After starting poorly and going behind to a tenth minute Robert Lewandowski strike, the Royal Blues clawed their way back into the game and levelled the scores through fellow World Cup hero Benedikt Höwedes’ equaliser.
“I don’t think many people would have backed us against Bayern,” said Draxler after the final whistle, referring to Schalke’s poor start to the season in which they lost their first two competitive matches: in the DFB Cup first round to Dynamo Dresden and on Bundesliga Matchday 1 against Hannover 96 last week. “It was an important first step to prove that we can get back on track. Still it was ‘only’ a draw, which is why we want to pick up our first win in our next game against Gladbach.”
To do so Draxler and Co. will need to begin the encounter far more brightly than they did at the Veltins Arena. “Games like that always ebb and flow and at the start we definitely played with too much fear,” Draxler admitted. “We only really woke up after we conceded. After that we started playing with more passion and we need to work on being able to play like that right from the start. If we’d done that we could have even got more than a draw today, although we’re very happy with the point and mustn’t forget who we played against.”
Handball not intentional
Team-mate Höwedes was equally satisfied with the result, if not the overall performance. “I’m very happy,” said the 26-year-old. “Towards the middle of the first half we started fighting better and went into tackles well. We showed Bayern it’s not easy to come here and take all three points. I’m proud of the way we competed so well against them.”
The defender’s 62nd minute goal was only the third Schalke have scored past Bayern in their last eight league meetings and he was unashamed about the scrappy nature of his equaliser: “It all happened so fast. At first I didn’t realise the ball had hit my hand - it definitely wasn’t intentional. I just tried to get to it and somehow force it over the line and that’s when Xabi Alonso’s clearance hit me from point-blank range.”
More to come
The result means Schalke have just a single point on the board this term, but Draxler believes the draw with Bayern could act as a springboard for the club to move forward. “There are definitely a lot of positives we can take from the game,” the 20-year-old said. “We showed we can keep up with the best and also what we’re capable of achieving. If we perform like that against all our other opponents then we’ll have no reason to fear anyone.”
Unfortunately for Schalke they now have a two-week wait before having the chance to build on their display, with the international fixture break meaning there are no Bundesliga matches next weekend. Yet with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Kevin-Prince Boateng to return to the side after missing the game against Bayern through illness and injury respectively, one suspects the only way us up for Schalke from here on.