Playmaker Nabil Bentaleb has earned a recall with Schalke and will hope to add to his five league starts so far this season. - © IMAGO / Team 2
Playmaker Nabil Bentaleb has earned a recall with Schalke and will hope to add to his five league starts so far this season. - © IMAGO / Team 2
bundesliga

Nabil Bentaleb back in Schalke first-team picture

Schalke midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has returned to first-team training as the Royal Blues look to give themselves every chance of avoiding relegation this season.

Bentaleb, 26, had been out of favour since the end of November but he has now been recalled following discussions with head coach Christian Gross this week.

The former Tottenham Hotspur playmaker could even be included in the matchday squad for the trip to Union Berlin on Saturday, when prolific US teen Matthew Hoppe and club legend Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will hope to fire the Bundesliga’s bottom club to just their second win.

Bentaleb had been a key player in his first three years with Schalke after joining from Spurs in 2016. He scored at least three league goals in each campaign - including the 2016/17 Bundesliga Goal of the Season.

Watch: Check out Bentaleb's Goal of the Season winner

The Algeria international also weighed in with eight assists in that time, but he then suffered injury problems before spending the second half of the 2019/20 season on loan at Newcastle.

Since his return to Gelsenkirchen, Bentaleb has featured just eight times in all competitions during 2020/21. He last played as a substitute in a 2-0 home defeat against Wolfsburg on Matchday 8.

Schalke have picked up only five points in 12 league matches since then, however, and the Royal Blues now have just 14 games left to save themselves.

The 2017/18 Bundesliga runners-up next take on ninth-placed Union in the capital, with the club confirming that Bentaleb is available for an immediate return to action if required.