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Aug 26, 2014

Draxler voices support for Jens Keller

Jens Keller arrived at Schalke in December 2012.

Julian Draxler believes the speculation surrounding the future of Schalke coach Jens Keller following the club's poor start to the season is "laughable."

Keller has come in for criticism ever since his appointment in December 2012, despite guiding the side to Champions League qualification last season.

Sporting director Christian Heidel revealed that ex-Mainz boss Thomas Tuchel had been approached by the Royal Blues in early 2014, while sporting executive Horst Heldt has spoken of being prepared for a worst-case scenario with regards to Keller.

Schalke have endured a shaky start to the new season -- losing 2-1 at Hannover in their Bundesliga opener, after going down 2-1 at third-tier club Dynamo Dresden in the DFB-Pokal first round -- leading to suggestions that Keller could be set for the sack.

However, Draxler told DerWesten: "We don't let the criticism get to us.

"Horst Heldt has already emphasised that there are no internal discussions, and to start a discussion about the coach from the outside after two matches is rather laughable.

"But we are used to that. The coach was written off three times in the first half of the last season. As a team we don't play for or against the coach, we play for Schalke."

The Royal Blues hope to kick-start their campaign at the weekend, when they host Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen.

"That match against Bayern is certainly not what we have wished for in our situation," Draxler said. "We all need to be awake."

Whatever happens against Bayern, Draxler believes that Schalke have enough quality to recover from their poor start.

"We indeed started badly but I am very, very, very far away from prematurely writing this season off, and denying our squad has the quality," he said.

Like the other members of Germany's World Cup-winning squad, Draxler returned to training with his club more than halfway into preseason.

He was brought on as a second-half substitute against Dresden, and was on the pitch for 73 minutes against Hannover.

"I will not be in top shape until then [the Bayern match]," Draxler said. "I can't make up for full preseason during one week of training."

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