Neuer remains wary of relegation
Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has warned the club are not yet safe from relegation. Neuer played in yesterday's 2-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen which saw the Gelsenkirchen outfit slip to within five points of the relegation play-off spot with seven games to go.
"We may be tenth at the moment, but there is not too much room behind us," he said on his club's website. "We can all read the league table. We have now got to win at St Pauli to ensure we don't get dragged down into relegation danger."
Josef Eichkorn, who took charge of Schalke for just the one match yesterday following the departure of Felix Magath, was happy with his side's second-half performance, but acknowledged that it was already too late by then.
"I would have liked to have seen a performance like that before the break," he said. "All we lacked was danger in front of goal. We hardly created any chances."
Improving on that will now be the responsibility of Ralf Rangnick, who was today officially unveiled as the club's new coach. He inherits a team which may be struggling in the league, but has already booked its place in the final of the DFB-Pokal and is in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Rangnick was initially due to take over on 1 July but brought that date forward following the departure of Felix Magath last week.
"It is no secret that I intended to start work again on 1 July," said Rangnick, who resigned as coach of Hoffenheim on New Year's Day. "But I decided to make an exception for Schalke, given the current situation.
"I had intensive negotiations last week with (director of sport) Horst Heldt and (president) Clemens Tonnies and this led to us agreeing that I would start on 1 July.
"But then it became clear that there was no chance of Magath staying until the end of the season and so the question was asked whether I could come immediately or whether the club should find an interim solution. I was needed now and so I decided to take over immediately."
However, Rangnick did not need to think long about returning to Gelsenkirchen having coached the club for 16 months until December 2005.
"I was always happy here," he said. "With all the fans, the stadium and the whole environment at the club - I got goosebumps. I am returning to a former place of work and there are special emotions."
Heldt said he had "brought Rangnick home", and he hopes the move will revive their season. "I am delighted that he has decided to come now because we saw again yesterday that it is not an easy situation - we had no chance against the second-placed side in the league," said Heldt. "He now has two weeks to get to know the players and stamp his authority on the team."