By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Marius Bulter might be a perfect symbol for the fairytale-like story FC Schalke 04 is experiencing.
Slightly over ten years ago, Bulter seemed written off after his former youth coaches told him a career as a professional footballer was out of sight.
"It isn't enough, they told me, and I was about to forget about a career in football on the level I was dreaming of, like everyone having gone that far," the Royal Blues striker said.
Not giving up somehow became his guiding principle. His journey took him to several amateur teams before the second-tier side FC Magdeburg's call surprisingly reopened doors.
Two years in the shirt of Union Berlin proved his youth coaches might have been wrong or, as he is putting it, the time of his breakthrough hadn't yet come. Schalke then called in 2021.
Being elected as the scorer of the so-called "goal of the month" in February, praising his stunning back-heel goal against Stuttgart might be one thing.
Much more fascinating, the four goals he scored in the previous four games helped Schalke not to lose one of the eight games after the winter break.
While Bulter has seven goals and two assists this season, the team gained ground by achieving six draws and two victories.
The club's supporters right away perceived a new spirit had developed. Optimism returned to the former mining region that for decades stood for tirelessly hard-working minors and football as a sort of alternative religion keeping things together.
Over 7,000 fans traveled to Schalke's latest game in Augsburg (1-1), witnessing Bulter's equalizer in the dying minutes. Some supporters spoke about "another game on home soil," while some called it a powerful march of the masses.
The upcoming league break due to two internationals of the German national team against Peru and Belgium might deliver a well-deserved recovery break, as Schalke's hunting journey required energy.
Singing in shortly before the 2022 FIFA World Cup break in November last year, coach Thomas Reis has triggered a new mentality. Times seem over, with Schalke feeling like a team without a chance to turn things around.
The 49-year-old managed to stabilize the team's defense and, on that base, start the unexpected point harvest pushing the side upwards.
The road might remain bumpy, but a happy end has come within reach for a good reason; one of them undoubtedly is the late spring of Marius Bulter. ■