bundesliga.com looks ahead to the Italian's debut night at the helm of the underperforming Royal Blues...
After winning just two of their first seven league games of the season, Schalke will be keen to get off on the right foot under their new head coach. Hertha's start has mirrored that of Saturday's hosts, with goal difference all that separates the two clubs in the standings going into the latest round of action.
Julian Draxler is expected to start, despite picking up a knock in Germany's Euro 2016 qualifying draw with the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. Captain Benedikt Höwedes is also in contention after spending the last four weeks on the sidelines with a groin tear.
Hajime Hosogai touched down in the capital unscathed, but Salomon Kalou is a minor doubt after returning from international duty with a bruised thigh. Nico Schulz, meanwhile, only completed half of Thursday's training session following his exploits for Germany's Under-21s.
Höwedes will look to shore up a suspect back four that's shipped nine goals in five games without their World Cup-winning captain at its heart. The 26-year-old made all the difference on his last outing, helping the Royal Blues to a battling 1-1 draw against FC Bayern München on Matchday 2.
Kalou took his Bundesliga tally to three goals in five appearances courtesy of a well-taken brace in the 3-2 win over VfB Stuttgart last time out. As well as netting in Hertha's only other win of the campaign at home to VfL Wolfsburg on Matchday 5, the Ivorian also netted twice for his country in midweek.
Roberto Di Matteo, Schalke head coach: "The lads aren't happy with the number of points on the board and want to move up the table as quickly as possible."
Jos Luhukay, Hertha head coach: "We have to build on our performance against Stuttgart."
A third defeat of the season brought an end to Jens Keller's 22-month spell in charge of Schalke prior to the international break. Hertha, on the other hand, picked up all three points on Matchday 7, but travel to the Veltins Arena without an away win since beating Stuttgart 2-1 on 22 February 2014.
Schalke have won the last six, as well as ten out of the last eleven Bundesliga meetings against Hertha, whose last win against the Royal Blues came in September 2006. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Chinedu Obasi grabbed the goals in last season's corresponding fixture.
Schalke: Fährmann - Uchida, Höwedes, Neustädter, Fuchs - Höger, K.-P. Boateng - Choupo-Moting, M. Meyer, Draxler - Huntelaar
Hertha: Kraft - Pekarik, Heitinga, Lustenberger, N. Schulz - Hosogai, Skjelbred - Beerens, Stocker, Haraguchi - Kalou
Schalke legend Raul played his final game and scored his final goal for the club in a 4-0 win against Hertha back in April 2012. Relive the highlights of that emotional day below, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: