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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Metzelder: Schalke must stop the rot

Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Schalke defender Christoph Metzelder has warned his team-mates to question themselves instead of blaming others.

After Schalke's 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich at the weekend, former Real Madrid centre-back Christoph Metzelder told the press there was not a lot of time left for the club to turn things around.

"It cannot continue like that," he said. "Week in, week out we hand the games to our opponents. "A team on its fourth coach in only three years needs to start question itself and ask if you need to be led all the time or if certain things have to come from inside the team."

Metzelder is coming to the end of his contract at Schalke, and this season he has only played five competitive games for the Royal Blues. The 32-year-old, who has won 47 caps for Germany, has hinted at retiring from professional football at the end of the season.

Earlier this season he said he wanted to end his time at Schalke on a high. But over the past few months, Schalke have been knocked out of the German cup and they have fallen off the pace in the league, currently siting tenth on the Bundesliga. Metzelder asked the team leaders to, finally, act.

"It is up to us to change the vibe around the club," he said, while backing the coach. "Jens Keller works with a lot of enthusiasm. But it just does not matter who the coach is. If we don't get it straight in our heads, it will get difficult," he warned.

Schalke travel to Mainz this weekend, before travelling to Istanbul to face Galatasaray in the knockout stages of Champions League. According to Metzelder "the team has quality and players who can lead the team" but, in the current crisis everyone "was too busy with themselves," he felt.

Meanwhile, Japan international Atsuto Uchida will be sidelined for the coming weeks. On Monday, a MR scan revealed the right-back has torn a muscle in his thigh. Uchida was already absent in the defeat against Bayern and it is likely that, over the next few weeks, he will be replaced by Schalke skipper Benedikt Howedes.

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