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Schalke general manager Horst Heldt says the club are looking to take “the next step” and move above Bayer Leverkusen as they prepare to face Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Friday.
Schalke 04 sit in fourth place, level on points with Leverkusen and four points behind Borussia Dortmund in second, but have been given an opportunity to put pressure on their rivals by the fixture computer which sends them to the SGL Arena a day before the others.
Heldt, however, recognises the size of the task awaiting Jens Keller’s troops with Augsburg up to sixth place in the standings following an unbeaten Bundesliga run that stretches back to early November.
“You’ve got to take your hat off to Augsburg,” he said. “Before the season many would have predicted [Augsburg] would be in the relegation positions. Every player there has their role. Everyone plays to their limits.”
The Bavarian club, 2.38 to record the win on Friday, finished 15th in the table last season but are now targeting a Europa League place after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend.
Schalke coach Keller revealed that Peruvian winger Jefferson Farfan is out of the clash because of injury but midfielder Roman Neustadter is set to keep his place after overcoming a knock.
Farfan has had a small injection to clear up a niggling problem with his knee and the coach admitted it was now a case of checking his condition daily.
Schalke are available to back at 2.88 to win the game while the draw is priced up at 3.15.