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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Bayern thrash Schalke in friendly

Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Bayern Munich hammered Schalke 5-0 in friendly in Qatar on Tuesday, piling pressure on the injury-plagued Gelsenkirchen side ahead of the Bundesliga campaign's resumption next week.

• Blog: Bayern batter Schalke

First-half braces from Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic and a second-half goal by Mario Gomez sealed a handsome win for the German league leaders which sent out a clear message to their Bundesliga rivals.

"Maybe Schalke were a bit tired," Netherlands international Arjen Robben said. "Personally, I am very pleased right now. It was pretty decent, but there still a lot of room for improvement."

The winger was brought on for the second half and later also captained his side.

"It was a good way to end the training camp like that," he added. "We are on a good way. Once we are back in Germany, we need to continue working like that."

Franck Ribery stood out with his performance and set up each of the four goals in the first half before being substituted at the break.

"It looks like we are fitter than Schalke," said Ribery, who has been suffering from knee problems. "When I am fit, that's good for me. I have got heavy legs now, it was very intense, we worked a lot - but now we call it a day."

The defeat to Bayern, however, has heaped the misery on Schalke. The trashing was a fiting end to a disastrous training camp for the Royal Blues, who had sacked their boss Huub Stevens in late December. New boss Jens Keller, who is on a contract until the end of the season, is already under pressure.

"No players, no tactic, no quality - but a lot of problems," Revier Sport wrote and declared a state of emergency at the club.

After the sacking of Stevens, Schalke general manager Horst Heldt had said the club was still on course for its main goal - reaching next season's Champions League. They currently trail fourth-placed Frankfurt by five points and have not won a league match since November.

"In the future I want to see a different performance from my team," Keller said. "We should not give in like that."

Skipper Benedikt Howedes added: "That's not the way to present yourself - not even in a friendly. We tried something that is not playable against Bayern. During half-time we said, it can't go on like this and we should not attack that early."

Schalke had to do without several key players. Ibrahim Affelay and Christoph Moritz will not return in the near future but the Royal Blues were also without Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Atsuto Uchida, Christoph Metzelder, Marco Hoger and Jefferson Farfan. When the club kicks off the second half of the season against Hannover in nine days, they will also be without suspended players Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jermaine Jones.

"The transfer window is open, we need to make quick and rational decisions now," Heldt said.

On Wednesday morning he told Sky that the club was looking into bringing in an attacking player. It also seems doubtful Schalke will allow Spurs signing Lewis Holtby to leave the club during the winter transfer period.




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