Schalke have been handed a boost ahead of their Champions League game in Basel on Tuesday with the news that Germany starlet Julian Draxler has recovered from a knee injury and could be involved in Switzerland.
Draxler, 19, and former AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, 26, had formed a good partnership in Schalke’s attacking midfield since the latter’s arrival in late August.
But a knee injury to Draxler in Schalke’s 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich broke up the pairing, with the Germany international subsequently missing a Cup match in Darmstadt and a Bundesliga draw with Hoffenheim.
However, Schalke coach Jens Keller confirmed that Draxler may now return against Basel, saying: “We are very optimistic that he’ll be able to play tomorrow.”
Draxler himself told Schalke’s official website: “I am nearly pain-free and was able to train without any impairment.”
The Royal Blues took all three points from their first group game against Steaua and -- ahead of back-to-back meetings with Chelsea -- are targeting three points back from their trip to Basel.
But Keller recognised that Schalke faces a difficult task in Basel, saying: “Basel won in London and they play at home. They are the favourites. But we came to Switzerland to get a result.
“When you look at the way defended against Chelsea and also at their transition play, you have to admit that was great sport.
Keller's Schalke side will be without controversial United States international Jermaine Jones, who was handed a one-match club suspension -- described as a "pause for reflection" -- following a performance in Schalke’s 3-3 draw at Hoffenheim.
“He still is a part of our team,” Keller said. “We have only suspended him for this game.”