Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 could only draw 1-1 with Dutch outfit FC Twente in a pre-season friendly on Sunday, but the result did little to dampen the mood of Knappen newcomer Johannes Geis.
'The right decision to move'
The 21-year-old midfielder stuck away a stunning free kick on his first outing at the Veltins Arena as a Schalke player, the glowing reception he received from fans and critics alike fully vindicating his decision to leave 1. FSV Mainz 05 earlier in the summer.
“The team have welcomed me with open arms,” Geis told the club's website at the final whistle. “I hoped they would and imagined they would too. I’m happy to have made the right step and it has definitely confirmed to me that it was the right decision to move here.”
That Geis currently ranks amongst Germany’s top holding midfielders is no secret. He reads the game and distributes the ball with consummate ease, but also carries an enviable threat from set pieces. “It’s why [Schalke] signed me,” he quipped after adding to his growing back catalogue against Twente. “It was a good goal.”
'Get off on the right foot'
With Geis asserting his quality in the engine room, fellow newcomers such as Junior Caicara and Franco Di Santo already playing an integral role and a new head coach at the helm in the form of Andre Breitenreiter, Schalke look to have most, if not all, the pieces of the puzzle in place to mount a sustained challenge on the top four in 2015/16.
“We still have to digest a few things defensively,” Geis admitted. “Most things are going well in attack, with just the odd final ball missing here or there. It’ll be good if we can get a win the the DFB Cup [first round] against MSV Duisburg and then get off on the right foot in the Bundesliga.”
'Attractive and successful football'
Geis probably isn’t aware that it’s fast approaching seven years since Schalke last won their opening Bundesliga fixture of the season, but there’s no faulting his enthusiasm and commitment to the Royal-Blue cause.
“The fans are remarkable,” enthused the Germany Under-21 international. "[Their support] is unique in Germany. It’s now up to us to reward them with attractive and successful football in the coming season.”