Giefer's patience has paid off - on Matchday 18, he is set to make his debut for Schalke 04
Giefer's patience has paid off - on Matchday 18, he is set to make his debut for Schalke 04

Injury gives Giefer his break with Schalke

Cologne - 's transfer to FC Schalke 04 last summer raised quite a few eyebrows.

Proving his point

Not because there were any doubts the former Bayer 04 Leverkusen youth player had the quality to pull on a Royal Blue shirt, but more due to the fact the Gelsenkirchen club already seemed well set up for the future with their number one .

Playing second fiddle at a top Bundesliga side when he could have taken his pick of first-team options elsewhere, not least by remaining in Düsseldorf, may be branded either bold or naïve, depending on your viewpoint. For Giefer, it was the former, and now he is preparing to disprove all those who ever considered the latter.

"Schalke are one of the top places you can be in German football," Giefer told the Bild newspaper last May, when his move to Gelsenkirchen was confirmed. "My challenge will be to perform at the highest level and the fact that this means being involved in a battle for a place motivates me. My aim has got to be to play, and I am not considering any other eventuality."

Chance to be taken

That moment is about to come. With Fährmann ruled out for up to six weeks with a knee injury, Giefer is set to be thrust into a first Bundesliga appearance since 18 May 2013. Now, like then, the opponents will be Hannover 96. "I'm just delighted to be here, to be feeling fit and to be playing against Hannover," Giefer said. "As for the rest? Well my performances will dictate that."

Giefer knows that this is a chance for him to stake a claim for the number one jersey. Confidence is certainly not lacking either with the shot-stopper claiming Schalke have "never had as good a choice of goalkeeper since Manuel Neuer left as they have now", referring indirectly to his truly. "I'm really looking forward to these two games in a week," added the custodian, whose failure to dislodge Fährmann before now was not entirely down to his rival's near flawless form.

Injury carousel

An adductor injury picked up in pre-season training meant Giefer was unable to challenge for his place for several months. It is ironic, therefore, that an injury is now letting him in with history repeating itself for Fährmann: In 2011, he lost his place to Lars Unnerstall and, subsequently, Timo Hildebrand due to a serious knee injury, fighting his way back when, yes, Hildebrand picked up an injury.

The injury-induced revolving doors between Schalke's sticks are turning once again with Giefer this time the beneficiary, but for how long? "I know there is never going to be a guaranteed place in the starting XI," he said wisely back in May. "That is not what I would want either. I know I can't just sit back and relax. I must always push myself to the limit." Ideally without getting injured.