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Schalke’s 0-0 draw against Steaua Bucharest in the UEFA Champions League in midweek left plenty to be desired. The Blues have made rather hard work of a simple group. They have their fate in their own hands however heading into the final match-day. A win over Basel will take them through to the next round. Jens Keller, the former coach of Stuttgart, has been cutting a rather uninspiring figure for the Royal Blues. He just does not seem to be able to get the best out of his players.
Julian Draxler, who was affected by the common cold, and Kevin Prince Boateng are set to return to the squad for this clash. Last week, Schalke managed to earn a 3-3 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. They have actually managed to win four of their previous six matches in all competitions. Nonetheless, in almost every match, they cannot manage to keep a consistent level throughout ninety minutes, ranging from atrocious to magnificent, sometimes within one half.
Stuttgart, under the management of Thomas Schneider, has not managed to perform too well. Timo Werner however has emerged under his guidance nonetheless. The Swabians will have to make do without Cacau, Daniel Didavi and Arthur Boka. Schalke will continue to be without Marco Hoger, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Anthony Annan, Christian Clemens, Leon Goretzka and Dennis Aogo. Ralf Fährmann will start in goal as Timo Hildebrand is still struggling with injury.
This clash reflects a rather sad side to German football: managerial ineptitude. Both clubs have been hurt by poor decisions made by the hierarchy in recent seasons. Jens Keller was not the most popular choice for coach of Schalke. The “Blau und Weiss” needed somebody with international experience, someone who could take the reins and bring the best out of his players such as Huub Stevens did until his tired team started to slump to many defeats. Stuttgart, meanwhile, does not even have European football to look forward to this season, having lost out to Rijeka in the Europa League qualifiers.
This is what Keller had to say according to Schalke’s official website ahead of this one:
“The fact I'll be facing my former teammates Thomas Schneider (coach of Stuttgart) and Fredi Bobic (sporting director of Stuttgart) has no bearing on the way I prepare for the game. It's a nice titbit for the journalists perhaps. But the only thing of importance to me is that we bag a home win the help of the fans."
Watch Schalke 04 vs VfB Stuttgart live on Saturday, November 30, 2013:
In Germany at 18:30 CET on NDR 2, Sky 3D, Sky Go, MDR Info, Radio Bremen, WDR 2, Liga Total, Sky Bundesliga HD 2, Sport1.FM, Sky Bundesliga HD 1, Sky Bundesliga 2, Sky Bundesliga 1, Liga Total Mobile TV
Viewers in France can watch Foot+.
For the complete TV listings and live scores upon kick-off, visit the Schalke-Stuttgart match page.