Huntelaar happy at Schalke
Netherlands striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar goes into the upcoming UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying double header full of confidence despite his team Schalke's lowly position in the Bundesliga.
The 27-year-old has been in fine form for Die Königsblauen since his summer move from AC Milan and has netted four goals in five league games for the German club. Felix Magath's side - one of the pre-season title favourites - nevertheless find themselves second from bottom in the standings, but Huntelaar is upbeat.
"I'm comfortable in my skin. I have had a blast playing the last matches and trying to help my club pull through," Huntelaar told De Telegraaf. "Then you come to the Dutch team feeling nice inside.
"That (scoring) gives confidence - like the fact that I play every week. This is necessary to get a good feeling, to get your goals and the coach is very important. I like it at Schalke. Results apart, it's good in all respects. It's going well for me but that is not the most important thing. It's about the club and we lose too much, although I do think that the tide is turning."
FIFA World Cup runners-up the Netherlands, who picked up six points from their opening two Group E qualifiers against San Marino and Finland last month, take on Moldova in Chisinau on Friday and Sweden four days later at the Amsterdam ArenA.
Huntelaar faces competition for an Oranje starting berth from another Germany-based forward in Hamburg's Ruud van Nistelrooy, but the former Ajax, Real Madrid and Milan forward is concentrating only on his own game.
"I'm focused on myself," he said. "If the coach (Bert van Marwijk) gives me the chance, I know what I can do. I am convinced of my qualities and it is nice that it now comes out on the field."
Huntelaar's club coach Felix Magath is refusing to panic despite his side's disappointing start to the season and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's revelation this weekend that he is considering leaving the club.
After Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Nurnberg, Germany number one Neuer admitted to Sky television that he is "not happy at Schalke" and that he is uncertain about whether he will stay until the end of his contract in 2012. Those remarks have not alarmed Magath, however.
"Who should be happy?" he said on Austria's Servus TV programme. "Nobody can be happy with the current situation. However, that does not mean I should doubt everything."
Magath signed 14 new players in the summer and released 15, and claims he made such a drastic change to satisfy Neuer.
"My argument is that I have to offer players like Neuer European football and that is why we started this revolution," added Magath. "We did it so that we could find arguments to keep hold of somebody like Manuel Neuer. Everybody knows that such a revolution is problematic and even I don't know how long it will last."
Schalke face Stuttgart in their next match after the international break.