Reunions with Fahrmann and Pukki await as Wagner continues Schalke reboot against Canaries
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
There will be a familiar face in the opposition dugout when Norwich City take on Bundesliga side Schalke this evening.
Former Huddersfield Town head coach David Wagner has taken over at the Gelsenkirchen club to turn their fortunes around after a turbulent campaign.
Schalke finished as runners-up behind Bayern Munich in the German top flight in 2018 and qualified from a Champions League group in which they battled against Porto, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow.
However, they slumped to a 10-2 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City in the last 16 and ended up 15th in the Bundesliga having parted ways with Domenico Tedesco in March, finishing just five points clear of relegation trouble.
A fresh start has begun with Wagner's arrival, which has included long-serving goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann being allowed to join Norwich on loan for the season.
The 30-year-old has made over 230 appearances for Schalke and is under contract until 2023 but after wearing the captain's armband for much of the first half of the last campaign, youngster Alexander Nübel has become first choice.
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Nübel could feature against the Canaries this evening (5.30pm UK time) after a belated start to pre-season after helping Germany to finish as runners-up at the Uefa European U21 Championship last month - although his contract is due to expire next summer, which is partly why Schalke extended Fahrmann's contract as he left for Norwich on loan.
Pre-season began with a 3-1 win at fourth-tier side Rot-Weiß Oberhausen and continued with a 20-1 thrashing of non-league VFB Bottrop on Friday, with Guido Burgstaller scoring six goals.
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Wagner's side were held to a 2-2 draw by another team in the fourth tier, SG Wattenscheid 09, on Sunday though - when Everton and England U21 right-back Jonjoe Kenny made his loan debut.
Tonight's clash at the Frimo Stadion in Lotte walso brings a reunion with City's star striker Teemu Pukki, who scored eight goals in 47 games for Schalke between 2011 and 2013 before joining Scottish giants Celtic.