Hecking hopes to break Schalke duck
Nurnberg coach Dieter Hecking is hoping to celebrate a first when he sits on the Bavarian club's bench for the 100th time tomorrow. Hecking has never beaten Schalke, the side he supported as a youngster, in five attempts.
Nurnberg have managed just two draws in those games under Hecking's command while their last win in Gelsenkirchen dates back to 1993, but the coach is still optimistic of success this time around, even if his side have just gone seven games without a win. "My lads have worked well in training and we are really motivated for this game, and I am confident that we can get something there," he said at a press conference. "The fact we have not won in seven games does not weight us down at all. In fact, it is a challenge for us. We have analysed Schalke and even they have weaknesses."
Even more so now that Benedikt Howedes and Jefferson Farfan have picked up almost identical injuries which mean they are likely to be out until the new year. "This is not good for us," said Schalke striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar on his club's website. "Bene and Jeff are two very important players and are two key individuals.
"We are just unlucky at the moment, but complaining won't get us anywhere. We have got to get through this. I am convinced that we will be able to cover for their losses. We have a large and strong squad and now there is a chance for players who have not played much to prove themselves. We can master this together."
Huntelaar himself will have to play with a protective mask over a broken nose. Hecking welcomes Daniel Didavi back after a three-month injury absence and he will make his debut in the starting XI tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Nurnberg coach has chosen Timm Klose over Dominic Maroh in his defence, in spite of an error by the Swiss central defender against Freiburg a fortnight ago.