TSG's sporting director, Andreas Müller, who played for Schalke for 21 years, also talks of a day to enjoy as well as shaking the hands of old friends and acquaintances on Saturday: “None of that plays a role. We want to pick up some points. We don't want to show the side of us that we did in Mainz. What happened there irritated me immensely.” The sporting director has given the 1899-players a clear task: “We want to see passion and commitment from everyone from the first until the very last minute. Then you can survive against a side like Schalke.”
The statistics prove hopeful: Schalke, whose assistant manager, Markus Gisdol, is a former Hoffenheim player, have never won in Sinsheim. Last time out in March, the sides battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw, with world-renowned star Raul still a member of Schalke's side. The Spaniard is no longer part of the Schalke squad but the Royal Blues still have some of the best rising talent in the league. Jefferson Farfan, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jermaine Jones, Lewis Holtby, Julian Draxler and Benedikt Höwedes are just some of the names that TSG must be wary of.
Manager Markus Babbel: “We must concentrate and not get distracted by a setback. We have to believe in our own strengths.” Those strengths have not been in Babbel's attack of late, one that is made up of Takashi Usami, Roberto Firmino, Kevin Volland and Joselu. The inclusion of Matthieu Delpierre (muscle stiffness) is questionable but Chris (muscle tear) and Stefan Thesker (tendonitis in his foot) will both definitely be unavailable. Sejad Salihovic only has one more game left to serve of his suspension and will be available next week against Düsseldorf.