Matthew Hoppe’s sensational run of form has not only given Schalke a lifeline in its push for survival this season, but is likely to force the club’s front office into a major decision about his future in Gelsenkirchen.
Hoppe has scored five Bundesliga goals in his last three matches for Schalke, which included a hat trick against Hoffenheim earlier this January. With his contract set to expire this June, Schalke is doing everything they can to sign the American forward to a new long-term deal.
“The club management is doing everything it can to ensure that he will continue to play for Schalke in the future,” Schalke manager Christian Gross told reporters in a press conference on Friday.
Hoppe has been given the chance with Schalke’s first team this season, despite the club currently sitting bottom of the Bundesliga table. The 19-year-old will now be joined by veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the striker corps after the German signed back with the club this week.
Whether or not Gross changes his formation to play both Huntelaar and Hoppe together is another question that will need to be answered soon, but Gross believes Hoppe will benefit from Huntelaar’s return to Schalke.
“It’s really great how he is applying himself and giving 100% for Schalke,” Gross said. “It wouldn’t be a problem for him if Klaas Jan Huntelaar jumps ahead in the pecking order. He can benefit massively from Klaas-Jan and he’s determined to keep on developing.”
Hoppe and Schalke face a daunting task this weekend at home against defending league and European champs, Bayern Munich.