Half a days drive south from Gelsenkirchen is one of French Alps best resorts, Courchevel and with die Königsblauen traveling to Karlsruher to face KSC, the match would have been a perfect stop in a road-trip. However it's not snowing so it looks like my quaint segue will go nowhere and I'll have to use it another time.
After a disheartening draw last weekend against Arminia Bielefeld manager Fred Rutten and is demanding results against Karlsruher SC today and Energie Cottbus this Saturday. KSC is in the midst of a three-match losing streak that started with a well-played loss to Bayern at the Wildparkstadion and followed up with away losses to Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Mönchengladbach who thankfully returned to the Bundesliga this year.
Over the last twelve years trips to Karlsruher, Schalke has been unable to produce a victory. While upset with the outcome of the last match, Fred Ruten is optimistic:
"The players are in excellent mental and physical shape. We're top fit. Though we were held to a 0-0 draw by Bielefeld around 44 hours after the final whistle of our UEFA Cup tie against PSG, that had nothing to do with our fitness. We just lacked a bit of luck."
Heiko Westermann will return for die Königsblauen but with the exception of Christian Pander and of-course Gustavo Varela and Carlos Grossmüller relegated to the reserves the full squad is available. The only deletion of KSC's lineup is Michael Mutzel.