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Jens Keller to keep Schalke job

Jens Keller is set to remain in charge of Schalke after the Bundesliga winter break following a turbulent few days at the club.

Schalke coach Jens Keller celebrates as the final whistle goes in Freiburg to confirm Champions League football
Schalke coach Jens Keller celebrates as the final whistle goes in Freiburg to confirm Champions League football

Sections of the German media are unsure whether the 43-year-old coach will still be in the dugout come January, with his authority being questioned several times since taking charge of the club right before the 2012 winter break.

A number of German papers linked the former Germany international Stefan Effenberg with the Schalke job ahead of the 2013 summer break, with others reporting that the Royal Blues tried to lure Freiburg coach Christian Streich to Gelsenkirchen.

Keller stayed, but despite a sound summer transfer policy -- including the signing of AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng -- Schalke have failed to recreate the form that secured them fourth place last season.

Die Knappen are five points adrift of fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach, and look unlikely to meet sporting director Horst Heldt’s target of joining Borussia Dortmund as Bayern’s main title challengers this season.

Schalke progressed from the group stages of the Champions League but face a daunting encounter with potential favourites Real Madrid, while more hopes of silverware vanished when they dropped out of the German Cup at home to TSG Hoffenheim in early December.

In spite of a 2-0 league victory at home to Freiburg on Sunday, several German papers reported that Keller will not make it into the New Year.

Both the local paper Ruhr Nachrichten as well as the biggest German tabloid Bild linked the former Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf with Keller’s job on Monday.

That day, a supervisory board meeting took place in Gelsenkirchen. It is widely believed that Keller’s position at the club was on top of the priority list. Following the meeting, two different stories surfaced in the German media.

While both Bild and Ruhr Nachrichten continued to link Schaaf  to Gelsenkirchen -- with Bild even reporting that Schalke and Schaaf have agreed a deal in principle with the contract ready to be signed -- the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported that Schalke will continue to work with Keller.

“At the same time, Schalke will look into perspectives for coaching position for the upcoming season,” WAZ reported, and suggested this also means other candidates could join the race for the Schalke dugout -- a line confirmed by various other papers on Tuesday.

For the time being, Keller will now remain in charge of the Royal Blues, with Ruhr Nachrichten giving three reasons for Schalke's decision to keep hold of the German -- one of them being that the club do not have the finances to be able to hire a new coach. 

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