Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 mascot Erwin has been making waves on social media this summer, but on Friday it was the turn of the players and coaching staff to step into the spotlight for the club's annual Media Day.
The event, which took place at the Veltins Arena, is used to present the Royal Blues' new signings, take official photographs and produce exclusive media content for use throughout the upcoming campaign.
bundesliga.com rounds up the highlights…
Schalke media day: best bits
1) New surroundings for Geis
Johannes Geis (l.), signed from 1. FSV Mainz 05 this summer, was thrown in at the deep end on his first day at his new club: moving swiftly from an intense training session to an equally intense media day. Indeed, the 21-year-old was immediately made aware of the size of Schalke's domestic and international following when hundreds of Royal-Blue fans turned up to the club's training ground to watch the new recruit. "I must admit that everything here is a lot bigger than it was in Mainz," said the German U-21 international.
2) Injured, but still setting the example
Although club captain Benedikt Höwedes (r.) is still suffering with an ankle problem, he was hardly going to leave his young team-mates to face the glare of the world's media alone. The world champion was relaxed throughout, impressing both colleagues and journalists with his laidback nature. As for the season's aims, Höwedes only had one thing to say: "We want to play attractive, passionate football which excites the fans each and every game."
3) Full of pride
For new Schalke coach Andre Breitenreiter, media days are anything but routine. The 41-year-old's first such event only came last season, when in charge of SC Paderborn 07, which would explain not only his complete enthusiasm for the club and new surroundings but also his refreshing readiness to talk. "I absolutely cannot wait for the first game," he enthused. "Schalke are such a big club and it's incredible how many fans travelled to our training camp."
New Schalke head coach Andre Breitenreiter says he "absolutely cannot wait for the first game [of the season]."
4) An uncertain start
International stars have a particularly important role on media day, with many recording snippets in their own language to encourage even more fans back home to tune in to the Bundesliga. Matija Nastasic was one such example, with the Serbian anxiously finding his feet in front of the camera. Once the ice was broken, however, the defender became more and more relaxed, drawing special praise from the editors at the end. "Keep that smile, Matija," shouted one. "That's a really good look!"
5) A busy schedule
Along with their official media day, Schalke used the presence of all their players to record in-house and sponsors' media content, requiring the players to hold their smiles for that little bit longer. "We know we have to do it and so it makes it a lot easier to do it in a good mood," explained a relaxed Höwedes, who was preparing to set off for a long evening of sponsors' events with fellow World Cup winner Julian Draxler. When you represent a big club, there's always going to be interest!
Best of social media
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A different view
"From another perspective: how the S04 team photo came into being," reads the tweet below.
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Draxler rehearsing for 2015/16
Schalke fans will be hoping to see a lot more of these celebrations from Julian Draxler in the upcoming campaign...
Draxler's pearly whites
Leroy Sane, Max Meyer and Co. get ready to try their luck in the Corner Kings challenge.
Translation: Lining up for the official team photo.
Ready when you are!
The Royal Blues get ready for their official team photo.
Come in, if you’re a Schalker!
Schalke’s Media Day is about to get underway
The scene is set
The Veltins Arena gears up to host FC Schalke 04’s annual Media Day.