Gelsenkirchen - FC Schalke 04 striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar claimed it was “time we changed some things this season" after the Royal Blues were comprehensively beaten 4-1 away at Borussia Mönchengladbach, marking their worst start to a Bundesliga season for 46 years.

Still without a win this season in any competition, Jens Keller’s charges already have a mountain to climb with just one point on the board after three league games. The dent this defeat will have inflicted on their confidence though, could be put into further focus, particularly with a UEFA Champions League clash away at Chelsea FC looming large next Wednesday.

'Got to pull together’

Schalke went into the encounter seemingly buoyed by a morale-boosting 1-1 draw against reigning champions FC Bayern München on Matchday 2, yet the fillip of that fixture a fortnight ago seemed a distant memory as they were overwhelmed by a vibrant and pacey Gladbach side at the Borussia-Park. It could even be argued that the hosts were perhaps unfortunate not to add to their four-goal tally.

Dutch international Huntelaar, introduced as a second-half substitute when Schalke were briefly back in the game at 2-1 down, seemed at a loss to explain the way they surrendered the result, but insisted that soul-searching would be on the agenda. “There are probably lots of reasons why our results have dropped off so significantly. It’s difficult to explain, but we’ve got to pull together as a team and discuss the mistakes.“

Chelsea calling

A potential consolation for the beleaguered club is that time is of the essence to “correct the things that went wrong against Gladbach”, as Huntelaar says. This disappointment must be quickly digested, with a daunting trip to an in-form Chelsea to come. The 2012 Champions League winners sit top of their domestic league with a 100 per cent start to the season and have fond memories of meeting Schalke after beating them home and away in the group stage of the competition last season.

Keller’s men rose to the occasion the last time they faced a Champions League competitor by holding Bayern to a deserved draw. The same application is now needed against Chelsea, otherwise, as Huntelaar fears, “it’ll be a very difficult campaign”.

Bernie Reeves