It has been announced today via Schalke 04’s official website that club captain Benedikt Höwedes will remain as captain for the upcoming season.
Höwedes broke into the Royal Blues first team in 2007 at the tender age of just 19. He was given the captaincy in 2011 where it started off badly for the centre back, with a 3-0 away defeat to VfB Stuttgart. He also led them to the DFL-Supercup in his first season as Schalke captain.
There were contenders to take the captaincy off the World Cup Winner, vice-captain Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the second all time goalscorer for Schalke was a definite candidate to take over Höwedes’ role.
Breitenreiter has his say
However new manager André Breitenreiter said: "Benedikt will carry on in his role, he lives for Schalke 04.” As the former Paderborn manager embarks on a new step in his managerial career, he wants the number four to be his right-hand man on the pitch as he goes into his first season as Schalke manager.
However, Höwedes’ future remains unclear. The centre-back has been on the radar of many teams across Europe, including past Premier League winners and, with his contract running out at the end of next season, the Schalke fans will hope giving the 27-year old the chance to captain his boyhood club for the fifth season running will mean he stays for a longer period. He has scored 20 goals in 270 appearances for blue side of the Ruhr.
But it hasn’t been rosy for the defender that is currently valued at £12 million. A torn groin forced the defender to miss the remainder of last season and possibly the start of this term. He has yet to feature in pre season so far and, with the season beckoning, it seems unlikely that the Schalke star will be back in time for their season opener against Werder Bremen.
Plenty of potential replacements
Over pre-season, three other players were given the opportunity to captain Schalke during their training camps in Halle/Westfalen. Goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann, flamboyant playmaker Julian Draxler and defensive midfielder Marco Höger were elected by their team-mates to lead the side.
Either of these three could be vice captain to Huntelaar, depending on whether the German international is back in time to take lead of Breitenreiter’s team in his first season at the helm of the Royal Blues.