Magath defends struggling Schalke
Schalke manager Felix Magath has reaffirmed his belief in his side and refuses to use the term crisis to describe their current predicament.
After signing the likes of Raul, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Christoph Metzelder, Schalke were expected to challenge for the Bundesliga title this season, but they are instead stuck inside the bottom three with just four points from their first seven matches.
They are already 17 points adrift of the summit, making a title challenge even at this early stage of the season look unlikely. But Magath insists his side are not in a crisis.
"Before we played Nurnberg, we had won twice and drawn one," he explained in the Bild newspaper. "With our 2-1 win over Freiburg, we were under a hell of a lot of pressure and the 2-2 against Gladbach came after we were 2-0 down. Our 2-0 win over Benfica was our best game yet, so is that a crisis?"
Schalke are going to be under immense pressure once again next weekend when they host Stuttgart, who have one point less at the foot of the table.
"Nobody before the season would have thought it possible that this game would be between the teams lying 17th and 18th in the table," said Magath. "Of course, nerves are going to play an important role. It is going to be tight because Stuttgart are also better than their league position suggests."
Nevertheless, Magath is still optimistic that his team will turn the corner and be challenging at the right end of the table come May. He led Wolfsburg from ninth in the table at the midway stage of the season to the title in 2009 and sees no reason why Schalke cannot make a similar surge later on this season.
"Now is not the time for any calculations, we first have to get away from the bottom and into mid-table," he said. "But Schalke will, just like Wolfsburg back then, get stronger after the team has settled down. We should not go out of our minds now."