Fahrmann signs Schalke extension

Goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann says he is "looking forward to the coming years with Schalke" after penning a four-year contract extension.

The 25-year-old has committed himself to the Gelsenkirchen club until 2019, becoming the latest in a string of homegrown players to reinforce their allegiance to the Royal Blues.

"We're delighted that Ralf Fahrmann has tied himself down to Schalke for a long term," said the club's director of sport Horst Heldt.

"Despite many injury setbacks, he has never let himself get down and he has worked hard for his return in goal.

"Fortunately he's been successful because Ralf is a very important factor in our recovery in the second half of the season, and he can now define himself as Schalke through and through."

Fahrmann fought his way back into the first team, ousting Timo Hildebrand, who will leave the club this summer.

"My dream is getting even better," said the custodian. "I feel at home here and I'm looking forward to the coming years with Schalke."

Meanwhile, Heldt spoke of a successful season at the club's Annual General Meeting on Sunday evening.

"Before the season started, we laid out our goals," he said. "We wanted to get into the group stage of the Champions League, which we did, despite a stutter, against PAOK (Salonika).

"Then we said we wanted to get through to the knockout stage, which we also did.

"Our third goal was to reach the DFB-Pokal final, but we failed to make that and that was a disappointment.

"Our fourth goal was to reach next year's Champions League group stage. We can still do that, and that would mean Schalke would be represented again among Europe's best clubs - for the third year in a row.

"We've never achieved that before, and I think it's something we should be proud of."

Schalke need just a point from their final game of the season to secure third place, although they are already certain of a place in the Champions League next season, even if they would prefer to avoid a play-off.