Magath set for testing return
All eyes will be on Felix Magath at the Arena AufSchalke this weekend as he returns to the stadium with the away team just over three weeks after he last sat on the Schalke bench.
Magath left the Royal Blues under a cloud on March 16 only to take over as coach of Wolfsburg just 48 hours later. His relationship with the Schalke fans had become strained and he is sure to be given a hostile reception on Saturday when he desperately needs three points for his new club to take them out of the relegation zone in the Bundesliga.
"It is not the first time that I and my team come up against Magath, and vice versa, but I can imagine that it will be a particularly special game for my players," said Rangnick, whose side enjoyed a 5-2 victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.
He added: "We have got to make sure we channel this motivation in the right way. I am expecting a fantastic atmosphere."
Magath knows what to expect, both from the fans and his former team.
"I will try and pass on to my team everything I know about our opponents," he said. "Conversely, the Schalke players obviously know me. Nevertheless, we hope that it will be an advantage for us that I know so much about their players and that this can help my team."
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich will be looking to defend their third place when they travel to Nurnberg for a Bavarian derby on Saturday. Should they fail to win, fourth-placed Hannover could move back above them with victory over Mainz.
Borussia Dortmund can edge closer to the title with a win at Hamburg on Saturday, 24 hours before their closest rivals Bayer Leverkusen try to keep the title race alive at home to St Pauli. At the bottom of the table, Borussia Monchengladbach have little margin for error when they host Cologne in a local derby on Sunday.
Stuttgart and Kaiserslautern are also desperately in need of points to move clear of the bottom three while the first game of the weekend between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen tomorrow night is also an important relegation battle. Finally, Freiburg host Hoffenheim with little at stake for either side other than local pride.
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