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Dec 19, 2012

Keller rues Schalke's cup exit

New Schalke boss Jens Keller could not turn the club's fortune around as the Royal Blues crashed out of the DFB Pokal against Mainz yesterday.

Former Schalke Under-17 coach Jens Keller had only been made Schalke boss on Sunday and, despite making several changes to the team, was not able to stop the club's downfall.

Goals from Marco Caligiuri and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar saw the score tied only for Nicolai Muller to seal a 2-1 win for the visitors eight minutes from time.

But Keller, who was appointed on Sunday as head coach until the end of the season, refused to put his team down.

"You could see the boys were out there to win it," he said. "But they were insecure after the recent developments. Therefore I was even more surprised and delighted when I saw how they played after half-time."

Schalke, who had fallen behind after 30 minutes, commanded the game during the second half and Huntelaar's goal liked like sparking a fightback that would send them through to the quarter-finals.

"I thought we had turned the game around," Keller admitted. "But then there is our second mistake. We were sleeping while the ball was in the air for what felt like ten seconds." On Wednesday Sport Bild reported that in the background the club was already working on a big solution for next season. The paper claims former Chelsea boss Robert Di Matteo and club officials had met in secret to discuss a possible deal for next season.

It seems uncertain that in an atmosphere like this, Schalke can get back to winning ways and secure Champions League qualification. After 17 games the club trails fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt by five points.

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