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By ESPN Staff

Schalke aim to avoid banana skin

Schalke open the defence of their DFB-Pokal crown on Sunday with goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann warning against complacency when they visit FC Teningen.

Schalke, who clinched the trophy with a 5-0 thrashing of Duisburg in May, take on the Landesliga 2 side with Fahrmann - expected to become first choice following the departure of Manuel Neuer to Bayern Munich - wary of their opponents from the Friedrich-Meyer-Stadion.

He told Schalke's official website: "We are not underestimating our opponents. That would be negligent. We have to be highly focused, especially as everyone knows the Pokal can sometimes write its own rules.''

Schalke clinched the German Supercup last weekend with a penalty shoot-out win over arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund and Fahrmann believes it could be a good season for the Gelsenkirchen club.

He added: "That (the win over Dortmund) was a dream. It was a great game for the team and myself. The victory had a special significance for the team and especially the fans. We are highly motivated and happy that the season finally starts.

"Pre-season is always very tiring but the hard work will help us achieve our goals. If we go into each game fully focused and fully committed then the club can have a very successful season.''

Bundesliga champions Dortmund open up at SV Sandhausen on Saturday while Bayern Munich have to wait until Monday before their visit to Eintracht Braunschweig.

New Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes will be without France international Franck Ribery but Arjen Robben could feature after it was revealed the knock to the ankle he received in the Audi Cup clash with AC Milan was not as bad as first feared.

"The injury is not so serious,'' he told Bild. "We are looking at it day-by-day and seeing how it progresses.

"We are giving it a lot of treatment. It was a bad challenge on me and I suffered a lot of pain. It is frustrating but I am lucky. The injury could have been much worse. I have been fortunate.''

Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is not expecting an easy ride against Braunschweig.

"It will be a tough game,'' he said. "An evening game with a heated atmosphere. They already have games under their belt and have won twice. We must focus fully on the task in hand.

"It would be good if we could go there and score an early goal and then be able to win the game quickly.''

Wolfsburg, Borussia Monchengladbach and Stuttgart are in action on Friday. The Wolves go to RasenBallsport Leipzig, Monchengladbach take on Jahn Regensburg and Stuttgart meet SV Wehen Wiesbaden.

On Saturday, Werder Bremen visit FC Heidenheim, Bayer Leverkusen face Dynamo Dresden and Hamburg go to VfB Oldenburg.

Sunday's action is highlighted by Schalke's clash and Hoffenheim's trip to Germania Windeck.

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