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Keller ready for Cup test

New Schalke manager Jens Keller gets his first chance to turn the club’s fortunes around on Tuesday when they meet Mainz in the German Cup.

After a great start to the season, Schalke have slumped in recent weeks and although they topped their Champions League group, a run of six matches without a win in all competitions saw former boss Huub Stevens sacked on Sunday.

Keller was in charge of Schalke’s Under-17 side before his promotion to interim head coach, and he is realistic about what he can achieve in the Mainz match – his side’s last before the German winter break.

“It won’t be about the ideal way of playing football,” Keller said.

“We have this one game before the break, and my philosophy of football in the future doesn’t really matter right now.

“We have just one or two training sessions before that match, so there is no time to install my philosophy of football and it really doesn`t matter. Most of my work will be psychological and I need to encourage the guys.”

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund will be looking to maintain their Cup defence when they host Hannover on Wednesday.

With Juergen Klopp’s men trailing by 12 points in the Bundesliga, the cup could be their best chance for silverware from this campaign.

Dortmund smashed Bayern Munich 5-2 in last season’s final, but their head coach is not taking anything for granted this time round.

“Football is only about giving your all against whoever your opponent is and that’s what we’ll do,” Klopp said.

“Nobody is letting themselves think about Thursday and the winter break, instead everyone is focused on the cup. We all want to progress further, so we’ll give it our best shot on Wednesday.”

Last year’s runners-up Bayern have a derby against Augsburg to look forward to in the pick of the rest of the ties.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen visit Wolfsburg, high-flying Freiburg will be confident of avoiding a shock defeat at third tier side Karlsruher and Stuttgart host Cologne.

Mon 17 December, 2012
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