The German Bundesliga starts on August 5, and heinnews is providing extensive coverage in the buildup to the 2011-12 season with a club preview each day. Today is 20011 German Cup winners Schalke.
The post-Manuel Neuer era kicks off at Schalke but the German Cup winners still believe they should finish in the international ranks without the German national team keeper.
Neuer bolted for Bayern Munich on a five-year deal and will be replaced with Ralf Fährmann, who comes from Eintracht Frankfurt after having played at Schalke from 2003 to 2009.
That acquisition was one of many personnel moves that head coach Ralf Rangnick undertook to form the team in his mold.
In addition to watching Neuer decide on Bayern, Rangnick allowed two top defenders to go with Christian Pander going to Hannover and Lukas Schmitz heading to Werder Bremen.
Rangnick did bring in reinforcements for the up-coming season.
Christian Fuchs from Mainz is a superb left back who can take good free kicks while Lewis Holtby also arrives from Mainz where he was on loan from Schalke and will fill an integral spot as an attacking midfielder.
Marco Höger arrives as a midfielder who can score and set up goals while Jan Moravek comes to Schalke from Kaiserslautern to help fill the attack. Jermaine Jones and Tore Reginiusse both also come back from loans.
Rangnick would actually like to add more to his arsenal but the club is struggling financially – despite Neuer bringing in upwards of 25 million euros and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.
“Our situation is financially much more serious than I thought a long time,” said Rangnick, who had hoped to use the Neuer transfer fee to invest in the team.
But Schalke management want to continue their cost-saving and consolidation path and the coach must do without either a new centre back or defensive midfielder.
Rangnick definitely cannot do much worse in the Bundesliga where Schalke waited two-thirds of the second before finally picking up their game and staving off relegation.
The pieces are in place to fight for an international spot with Christoph Metzelder, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Benedikt Höwedes in the back line along with Hans Sarpei and Atsuto Uchida.
Rangnick must expect more in the midfield from Jose Manuel Jurado while Julian Draxler is a young talent with a year more experience while Jefferson Farfan and Edu provide some spectacular offensive firepower.
Speaking of firepower up front, Raul is back for another season as it Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the latter who struggled all season last year.
There is undoubtedly enough talent for Schalke to play in the upper ranks of the league and not in the relegation fight.