Schalke seek to end season on a high

Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes has set a target of eight wins out of eight to end the season on a high and achieve their objective for the year.

Neustadter showing his affection to the home fans!

The Royal Blues host strugglers Hoffenheim with victory the aim to keep them on course for a place in the Champions League next season.

"I speak on behalf of the whole team when I say that we want to get into the Champions League again," Howedes said on his club's website.

"I think it's no secret. It's such an interesting competition and is so enjoyable.

"It has got to be our aim to play in the Champions League again, and for that, only wins will do."

Schalke dropped to fifth a fortnight ago after losing 3-0 to Nurnberg and that result leaves six sides realistically in the running for fourth place.

Hoffenheim are not one of them, currently 17th and at risk of relegation, but that does not mean they will be easy opponents, according to Howedes, who is fit again after pulling out of the Germany squad to face Kazakhstan in midweek with a thigh strain.

"It's going to be difficult, even if it doesn't look that way on paper," he said. "I can remember our battles with Furth and Augsburg in the second half of the season and we struggled there.

"Hoffenheim have only conceded one goal in their last three games, and that shows they are more stable at the back."

Much of the credit for that record goes to goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who has steadied the ship since his arrival during the winter break.

"I want to help settle the nerves with my experience while motivating my team mates at the same time," the former Tottenham goalkeeper told Kicker magazine.

"I have never been so low in the table at such a late stage of a season, but I can cope with it.

"The psychological aspect is now more important than any tactics."

Coach Marco Kurz will nevertheless be pinning up the tactic board to show them the best way of getting three points in Gelsenkirchen.

"Schalke are very strong out wide and have a lot of power from their playmaker position, so we've got to build a strong defensive foundation," he said.

"But we've also got to build on that and be courageous going forwards."


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