Weston McKennie raved about "one of the most beautiful moments", Benedikt Höwedes first had to digest the emotional reunion with his "old love". The 20-year-old young star of FC Schalke 04 and the long-time captain of the Revierclub delivered the few bright spots on an otherwise rather event-less and gloomy Champions League evening. "It was a great feeling. I'm not the biggest, but I can jump high, "said McKennie on Wednesday his 1-0 winner (88th minute) at Lokomotiv Moscow. "It was one of the best moments in my career. As a boy, I've always dreamed of playing in the Champions League. "
With his first goal in the premier class, the American national player, who was considered an ardent talent, brought three points to the crisis-ridden runner-up on Wednesday evening, which greatly improved his chances in the first knockout round after his 1-1 win over Porto. After two games, the Royal Blues are in Group D equal points and equal to the Portuguese (4 points each) at the top of the table in front of Galatasaray Istanbul (3) and Moscow (0). Thus, the Bundesliga club can tackle the next duels with the Turks on October 24 and November 6 a little more relaxed.
Even more important for coach Domenico Tedesco was the realization that his team at least four days after the first league victory against Mainz confirmed the upward trend, at least results technically. Nevertheless, his eleven came on tour only in the second round. "There was other music in there and the goal was only a matter of time. We are not on a great, great way, but on a good one. These success stories have been developed by the team. "
Like McKennie, Höwedes showed great feelings. The 30-year-old hired the Russian champion only in the summer, because Tedesco could give him even after returning from the one-year interlude at Juventus Turin no perspective or wanted. Höwedes admitted that it was "not a normal game" for him. "It was very emotional. In the 90 minutes, I tried to hide that. But if you put 16 years in a club and then play against the old love, it is very strange. "
Although the reunion joy with the former teammates made the defeat for the world champion of 2014 not bearable, nevertheless marched Höwedes after the final whistle straight into the Schalke cabin. "You meet old friends. And the contact with some has never broken off, "reported Höwedes, but also admitted:" I would have only wanted a different result. "
Exactly ten years younger than Höwedes is McKennie. And the American national player still has his best time as a football pro ahead of him. Both sporting director Christian Heidel and Tedesco predict a great future for him. However, McKennie flourished just like the rest of the team when Tedesco withdrew him from the "10" to six on the move and replaced Nabil Bentaleb. The goal was then the reward for the fighter. "Weston has good power and is still brutally young. He still has to develop, but he has it all in him, "praised Tedesco.
Heidel was also full of praise: "I'm really happy for Weston. He has a good body language. He was a bit of a match winner. "It is important to continue the" mini-series "on Saturday at Fortuna Dusseldorf. That he despite his youth is already a role model for the teammates and could carry them along, as Heidel put it, McKennie but then surprised. "Wow," he said. "The others have much more experience. I look up to everyone. "