BERLIN (Reuters) – Schalke 04 will have more than half a dozen injury absences when they host in-form Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday but coach Manuel Baum is confident they can finally snap their 25-game winless run in the Bundesliga.
The Royal Blues, who last won in the league back in January, are in last place and already locked in a battle to stay up this season. They are six matches away from the all-time winless run in the Bundesliga set by Tasmania Berlin in 1965/66.
Schalke are missing injured striker Goncalo Paciencia, who underwent surgery this week, as well as Salif Sane, Rabbi Matondo and Ahmed Kutucu.
Several others including both keepers, Frederik Roennow and Ralf Faehrmann, are also nursing injuries and doubtful for the game, which could mean bringing in a keeper from the Under-23 team, Baum said
“We have to openly deal with our situation of trying to stay up,” Baum told a virtual news conference.
“It is not that we are surprised about using this word (relegation). We know what has happened on the results side in the past months. Our aim is to stay up. The players are working hard in training.”
Schalke have scored just six goals in their nine league games this season, conceding 28 in the process.
The club also suspended several players last week for disciplinary reasons in a decision that further deepened the sense of crisis on and off the pitch.
“What is important is what you do during the week in training,” Baum said. “To develop the will to go into the next game and say that we have a chance to win the game.”
“When the situation is that we cannot build it up any longer during the week then it is dangerous. But we are doing it and believe we can win the game against Leverkusen.”
“It has not worked for a longer period of time now but I am confident that we will step onto the pitch believing we can score our first win in a long time.”
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)