Schalke's Matchday 11 win against Werder Bremen left the Royal Blues riding the crest of the wave in second place, with seven victories on the board and scoring an average of two goals per game. Inexplicably, it was their last league win of the year as they collected just two points from their subsequent six games and nosedived down the table, ultimately ending up 17 points off the pace in seventh. Huub Stevens paid the price for the slump and was relieved of his duties after Matchday 17.
is without doubt the leading man in Schalke's star-studded cast, with the team's form and results inextricably linked to the Dutchman's own performances. Last season was the 29-year-old's breakthrough year with the club, as he hit 48 goals in all competitions and finished as Bundesliga top scorer. This term he has failed to hit the same lofty heights, managing just five efforts in the league, but his on-field presence is often enough to inspire his team-mates to step up too.
Still only 19, is already a Bundesliga veteran with 60 league appearances under his belt. Despite Schalke's squad - and midfield in particular - boasting a wealth of internationally experienced players, it is testament to Draxler's talent that he has nailed down a place in the starting eleven with remarkable speed. His direct approach, pace and keen eye for goal have seen him net three and create another this term, while also earning him a regular place in Joachim Löw's Germany squad.
38 - Number of times Schalke's most-fouled player, Jermaine Jones, has been crunched.
13 - No team has more names on the scoresheet than Schalke so far.
9 - Amount of goals scored from counterattacks this season - only Bayern have more.
7 - Schalke are the league's second-highest scorers in the final 15 minutes.
"Almost every mistake we make at the moment throws us back. It's hard to fight against that. We need to pull together again and after the winter break we'll be stronger for the second half of the season," Schalke defender and captain Benedikt Höwedes.