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What’s next for Matthew Hoppe at Schalke?

Schalke became the first team relegated from the German Bundesliga this season and will now try to maneuver its way immediately back to the top flight.

American striker Matthew Hoppe is one of many young players at the club who could be called on to lead in the second division next season after showing promising moments at times in 2021.

Hoppe kicked his time with the first team off in style, scoring five goals in his opening month after being called up from the Under-23 team. The 20-year-old American forward needed only 11 days and 265 minutes of action to score a hat-trick against Hoffenheim, a match that sparked a run of five goals in three matches.

Since then, the goals have dried up for Hoppe, as they did for Schalke, and now the club will try to show more consistency in the 2. Bundesliga next season.

Hoppe signed a new contract at the club in January, when relegation already appeared like a strong likelihood, and the goal for him will be to work his way into consistent minutes and more goalscoring opportunities in the competitive second division. After working his way through the youth ranks, Hoppe got his chances, despite the team struggling for majority of the Bundesliga campaign.

With results not going the way that Schalke had hoped, Hoppe’s playing time dropped as the club tried to earn victories and pull itself out of the relegation zone. Unfortunately, Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Arminia Bielefeld officially marked the club’s return to the 2. Bundesliga for the first time since 1987-88 and now Hoppe will hope to play a key role starting next fall.

Hoppe only made 16 appearances for the Under-23 team this season before earning the jump to the first team, a sign that he is not yet the finished product. While the goals may take time to find, Hoppe can continue to polish his craft as an all-around forward, a successful recipe for long-term success as a player in Germany and also Europe.

There will be calls for Hoppe to make a move away from Schalke, especially given some of the rumors linking him to larger clubs when he was enjoying his hot streak. The more reasonable reality is that whatever modest interest there may have been in Hoppe back in January has dried up, and even if there were opportunities to make a move, he would be unlikely to find a better opportunity for playing time than he is about to have with Schalke in the German second division.

It is easy for some to forget just how raw Hoppe still is. The 20-year-old  totaled just under 1,100 minutes in the Bundesliga in his debut season, a run that came after his 16 matches with the Schalke U-23 team.

The 2.Bundesliga isn’t the Bundesliga, but it is a tough league, and securing a return to the top-flight isn’t guaranteed for Schalke. If Hoppe can earn a starting role, and play a key role in Schalke’s return to the Bundesliga, then that could do as much or more for his career than leaving the German club now, when it will need all the help it can get to recover from this nightmare season.

Comments

  1. He’s still only a teen, he’s growing and still developing. I think going down a level and getting consistent minutes and goals will do way more for his game long term then another season like this at a higher level.

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    • What people are saying is Schalke is epically bad. They are going to statistically finish as the worst team in the Bundesliga in the last 30 years that’s in every metric: goals scored, goals allowed, wins, points, goal difference. There is little evidence they will be able to turn it around just by going down. Plus their finances are so poor they will probably still sell a few more of their decent players. The 2.Bundesliga might be the right level for him but not Schalke.

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      • it’s a naive bet to assume the problem was the team and not the player having growing pains. he produced. and then he dried up.

    • IV worst scoring team in 30 years (its probably much longer but I quit looking) and Hoppe in three matches is the squad goals leader. He dried up (hence why I said 2Bundesliga might be his level) but the rest of the team has been dry all year. Only one other player has more than 2g on the season and he padded it with 3 against lower level cup opponents.

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      • he produced then fell off says the team wasn’t holding him back. he did that despite the team. then whatever he was doing quit working. he needs a basic reboot. accelerating his level of competition is not where you figure out how your game works again. y’all’s theory of ambition seems to assume some kid who came up end of the season and had 5 goals. he had a flurry then got benched. he should make career decisions like someone who closed the season on the bench — unless he wants like wood to draw paychecks while sitting there.

  2. people, be real. the goals suggested promise but came in 3 consecutive games when they made him full time first team. didn’t have a goal the rest of the season and by the end was playing 10 minutes in his last 4 games, on the worst team in B.1. if anyone signed him B.1 they wouldn’t be much better than schalke and probably have him ticketed for the same bench he ended on. his better scenario is follow the team down, make his case, and be able to sell himself as a successful striker a division down as opposed to a flash in the pan. he is not being signed by bayern to come start. he is not bumping haaland off dortmund with a 3 game streak. he has an interesting future with some promise but his appeal with that resume will be sideways — other B.2 teams, or maybe a random 17th place type B.1 team might take him for their bench. even B.2 teams i don’t know if he’d walk in expecting more than to fight for time. his resume won’t support him being bought to start much of anywhere. people are in dreamland.

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  3. Hoppe was making great timing runs off the backline, a la peak Chicharito, during that mini-streak. As others have already said, he needs midfield service to score, or at least get chances. He was excellent at finding the seams, but those don’t just happen without the support from the mids.

    If Schalke upgrades their midfield or by being in a weaker league is able to provide better service, great. But if they can’t, it would great for him to move elsewhere so he gets those chances.

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  4. Hoppe moves well off theball right now. But the midfield is epically atrocious.. like Johnnyrazor, I am reminder of the horrible Sunderland teams from a few years ago. My fear is that since he never gets the right pass when he makes the right runs, he will eventually stop making those runs. Then his days are numbered. Bobby Wood’s goal dried up, because of terrible midfield play at Hannover. He stopped making those great runs into the channels, more because of a bad knee I believe, either way he couldn’t even play for a bad A bad 2 Bund. Team. Move to a place that can play the game young man.

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  5. Hopefully not lightning in a bottle but right now he’s looking like the soccer version of Jeremy Lin. He should stay with the team to find his form. He’ll have that opportunity with relegation.

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  6. I thought this was already discussed….he said he would stay with the team if they dropped….it’s probably better for him to stay so he can get playing time….

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  7. a guy with some appearances and goals but who dried up probably does well to follow the team down and find himself. i am sure the snobs will call for him to upgrade back to B.1 but it’s the same american hypercapitalist mentality as the failed super league, driven by thoughtless uncalculated ambition and money grubbing.

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    • It depends who else may want him and what their plans for him are. Anybody who buys him knows his age and experience. As for hyper capitalism, I am not sure what this has to do with the Super League!

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      • is there some rule where a guy can’t stay with the same team 2 years? why can’t he stay put and put up 15 goals? i think the antagonism relates to the snob conception that a relegated team is a failure when it may present an opportunity to the player involved. people cheering for dike at barnsley while acting like hoppe can only prove himself nback in the first division. pick a lane.

    • With the lack of talent in their midfield I’m not confident just going down will improve his service that much. This feels like a Sunderland situation where Schalke will struggle in the second division. He needs to find situation where he will have a chance to play and be successful when he plays. That’s probably not a big club but might not be Schalke either.

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      • I agree, is not like they barely missed staying up. They have issues that will follow them in 2BL. And don’t forget, they will probably lose some of their better players as well.

      • i think you’re conflating winning immediate promotion back up with being functional as a competitive platform that would serve as a showcase. of the past 3 worst B.1 teams, koln is back in B.1 and won B.2 the year they went down. paderborn is midtable after being relegated. even wins and losses, positive GD. even nurnberg wasn’t relegated twice. odds favor serviceable. you can argue they won’t get promoted back up but that’s kind of a stealth re-wording of the argument he has to stay B.1 to be of value to the Nats. history suggests otherwise.

    • Regardless of if it is a mid to lower Bundesliga club or a B2 team, his priority should be a place conducive to his development. Meaning- a manager and system that suits him, some decent talent around him and a decent shot at winning himself regular playing time. Unless they make some big changes- Shalke looks like it may well not be that place. LoL. I’m glad you could work the Super league rant in- get it off your chest. 100% agree that was reprehensible, greedy and the deaf, but…… completely out of left field in relation to a story about Hoppe.

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      • my point is it’s the same sort of snobbery and salary greed. the “fit” argument is fair. but too much of the talk is drive by prestige and money, not fit. his response should at best be measured, like is there a B.1 team that will actually play him any more than he got this year. because if he stays he probably plays and we can quit pretending B.2 sucks or something. i think the argument goes he needs to push himself but after stalling out in B.1 after a hot start, the question is does he need a different approach or just try the same thing twice?

    • Not one person here has talked about money, other than say Schalke is likely to sell its better players because they have no money not that Hoppe should go somewhere for money. Schalke has the fewest goals scored and by far the worst GD of any relegated team in the last 20 years. Typically the last place team loses by 1 goal per game Schalke averages losing by 1.93 goals per game. They have with 4 matches remaining already giving up the most goals at least since 1999 (79) and will need a miracle over those 4 to not set the record for fewest scored at least to 1990 when I stopped looking. The next closest GD since 1990 is -42, Schalke is -58 currently! It is very optimistic to think Schalke will be better just because they are going down. In 2017 Ingolstadt was relegated with 32 pts and -21 GD, two years later they were relegated to 3Liga. They’re in position to move back up this year to 2Bundesliga but it is close with 5 to play. Schalke for comparison has 13 pts 2W 7T 21L.

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      • you play games with facts. ingolstadt was 9th their first season down with a +2 GD and 12 wins. they were relegated the next year but only as the third team via a playoff where they won the first round. not a rapid spiral downwards, and they weren’t successively abysmal. they actually prove my point that a relegated team might be just fine for hoppe.

      • that’s quite the semantics parsing to say “no one here is literally saying the words ‘money.'” when people argue a player should force release/transfer to stay first division it’s usually either prestige or money. that one is usually given the choice of a pay cut or exit. given long enough this thread would eventually say he should maximize level and pay. those people would be misunderstanding the wood story which is every time he tried to capitalize on B.2 success he bought B.1 struggle. to me he had a brief streak but actually looks like a player who could use a lower level for a bigger stage. in plain english, his break from the blocks was a fluke and he should basically reboot like nothing happened. if he scores 15 goals he has then proved his case, and if schalke can’t get back up then he uses his year to sell himself to B.1 from a position of strength. otherwise the likely B.1 scenario for a kid with a fluke run is either another relegation fighter or the bench someplace. he could make anything of any opportunity but this is about do you move from weakness or a position of strength. even though i disagree with bobby wood’s career choices, he could keep signing for decent money in B.1 because most times he went to B.2 he’d score a bushel and be his own advertisement. with how hoppe’s year ended he probably looks like a reserve candidate to most good teams. people don’t seem to get he got the look he did at schalke in part because they were schalke. just like robinson is probably not playing first team starter for teams much better than fulham. a lot of the game here is calibration. i think riding them down is the calibrated choice to what he’s proven so far. it has risks but so does trying to stay up on a new team when you will probably get treated like a squad player anywhere else fighting for a jersey.

      • I won’t claim to have seen and read or remember all of the Hoppe comments but…. those I have seen suggesting move on have seemed to center around him getting really poor service with Shalke.

        If the right opportunity comes around- I’d agree, but he should be judicious. Playing in general is what is best for a young player. He’ll likely get plenty of opportunity w/ a B2 Shalke side while the service he will get riding the bench for a good team will be much worse.

      • i am a big believer in PT and people on here tend to favor prestige over PT. having played on some bad teams as an adult, that can starve you of service, but when you drop down that fixes itself. i also think that since he fell off and never got capped, and wouldn’t move until fall if he did, that realistically this chunk of the cycle is over for him. his only chance to make it is score 15 goals someplace and be the “club form” type berhalter loves. your chances of that go up in the second division.

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