Wagner behind revival of Schalke's 'enfant terrible' Harit, says Nagelsmann

Berlin (AFP) –


Julian Nagelsmann, coach of Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig, credits opposite number David Wagner with the transformation of midfielder Amine Harit from "enfant terrible" into a match-winner for Saturday's opponents Schalke.

With three goals and as many assists, the 22-year-old Harit is in form as an attacking midfielder or left winger for Schalke, who are up to fifth in the table, but only three points behind leaders Leipzig.

After a difficult 2018/19 season, overshadowed by injury and his involvement in a car accident in Morocco which left a man dead, Harit scored the winner and set up the other goal in Schalke's 2-1 win over Mainz last Friday.

Harit, who was born in France, started his career at Nantes and played for the French Under-21s before opting for Morocco in 2017, the year he joined Schalke, for whom he also scored twice in their 5-1 demolition of Paderborn a fortnight ago.

Nagelsmann credits ex-Huddersfield boss Wagner, in his first season in charge of Gelsenkirchen-based Schalke, with the rebooting of Harit's career.

"I think it's an outstanding indication of the class of David Wagner as a coach," said Nagelsmann, who praised the Schalke boss for harnessing the talent of "a difficult player", previously considered an "enfant terrible".

"However, this is a very, very good Bundesliga player, who David has put back on track," said Nagelsmann.

The 32-year-old has issued "special" instructions to his defenders on how to contain Harit, "which I won't give away" and expects a tough tussle.

"They (Schalke) are a team with the most sprints and their individual players move a lot," said Nagelsmann.

"You can already tell that they work a lot and defend extremely well, especially in the first 65 minutes."

Leipzig top the Bundesliga and host Lyon in the Champions League on Wednesday having already earned a 2-1 win at Benfica 10 days ago, thanks to both goals by Germany striker Timo Werner.

However, it's too early for any talk about them ending Bayern Munich's run of seven straight German league titles.

"It is clear that we will not start putting out the bunting at Leipzig's town hall on the fifth match day," said Nagelsmann, pointing out that Schalke have only three points fewer "and strangely enough, they aren't being treated as title hopes".