Gelsenkirchen - Matchday 8 may have signalled the start of a new era for FC Schalke 04 under new coach Roberto Di Matteo, but proved that no matter who sits in the dugout, he will still score goals.
The Dutchman bagged his fifth of the season in all competitions to put the Gelsenkirchen club on their way to three points and a clean sheet against Hertha Berlin on Saturday evening. After the game, Huntelaar spoke about the impression that Di Matteo has made in his first week at the club and the mark he has already made on the team, before looking ahead to this week's game against Sporting Clube de Portugal in the UEFA Champions League.
bundesliga.com: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, how would you sum up the game against Hertha Berlin?
Huntelaar: We played well from the first whistle, put them under pressure and did what the coach asked us to do. We pressed them hard from the halfway line whenever they wanted to pass it around and each one of us did our job of marking our man. That made it harder for them to get the ball forward and they ended up passing it back a lot. We hardly gave them anything at all.
bundesliga.com: Was such a compact defence the key to the victory?
Huntelaar: It's the second time this season that we've kept a clean sheet, which is a good sign for us and a credit to our defence. There were a lot of tackles and 50-50 challenges and we worked very hard defensively. Our organisation was good and we stayed solid.
bundesliga.com: How satisfied are you with the team's performance going forward? Schalke scored twice, but as a team you only had two shots on target.
Huntelaar: We created a few chances in the first half - in fact we had three good opportunities - and in the second half we came close a couple of times as well. After we scored the two goals we were able to wait for a chance to hit them on the break. The important thing in this game was to keep them out, though - that's how you win games.
Huntelaar: It's hard to say after such a short time, but up until now he's definitely made a really good impression. He's a coach that knows what he wants. Tactically he prepares us really well for games. The most important thing is that we win as a team. Otherwise you get trouble.
bundesliga.com: Will this win give you renewed confidence ahead of Tuesday's game against Sporting in the Champions League?
Huntelaar: The confidence levels are good right now, no question. The fact we've won this game is good for the team's morale. If you win games, everything's a little easier. Now we're looking forward to the game against Sporting. It's a really important match because we dropped two points against Maribor. We really have to make those up on Tuesday.
bundesliga.com: Your knee is bandaged up at present. Might you be a doubt?
Huntelaar: I don't think it's too bad. I tweaked something but it should be fine for Tuesday.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from the Veltins Arena