• Weinzierl pleased with progress in UEFA Europa League and DFB Cup.
  • Schalke coach sees room for improvement in the Bundesliga.
  • Targets being in touch with European spots before winter break.

Things are suddenly looking rosy in Gelsenkirchen. Only two teams in the Bundesliga have taken more points than FC Schalke 04’s 11 from the last five games, while the Royal Blues have also reached the last 16 of the DFB Cup and the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

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The talk of crisis after five consecutive Bundesliga defeats to start the season has given way to the bullish aim of closing in on the European spots by the winter break. Mastermind of the recent revival, Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl spoke to his club’s official website about Die Knappen’s upturn in fortunes in recent weeks…

Markus Weinzierl on…

…Schalke’s slow start to the season:

"Of course it wasn’t pleasant, but in hindsight it might even have helped a little bit. We learned a lot from the tough defeats and are already doing a lot of things far better than we were. The team has come on leaps and bounds, although needs to keep developing so that we can reach our targets."

Markus Weinzierl surveys the VELTINS Arena. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Alexander Scheuber

…the development of the team:

"The group is beginning to understand more and more where our strengths lie, how we want to play and the need to bring 100 per cent onto the field every single time we play. We’re seeing a team that battles, that runs, that works and that’s always the cornerstone of success. More than just the battle, though, the team understands the need to impose its quality and convert that into goals. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, but - given that we’re at the start of our development - I’m happy."

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…the intense past few weeks:

"It has been an intense period, but we managed to achieve what we needed to. We’ve reached our targets continentally and in the DFB Cup, and we made up some ground in the Bundesliga. We’re not yet where we want to be in the Bundesliga, though, and so there’s still plenty of work to do. By the winter break, we want to be in touch with the European spots."

Watch: Schalke 3-1 Bremen Matchday 10 highlights:

…the tactical shift from 4-2-3-1 to 3-5-2:

"The task of the coaching staff is to find a system in which the team can work best. In the current system our players have the best chance to do well, whether that’s at the back or going forward. So to that end, the tactical shift was an important step."

…the international break:

"It is what it is and so we won’t waste time thinking about it. I’m just hoping that all the players come back fit so that we can carry on against Wolfsburg [on Matchday 11] where we left off before the break."

Click here to head to the Match Centre for more on Schalke's trip to Wolfsburg

Watch: A tale of Royal Blue love: