• Goretzka delighted with Badstuber and Burgstaller signings.
  • Schalke host Ingolstadt this weekend.
  • "It will be crucial to start well."

FC Schalke 04 midfielder Leon Goretzka has tipped new signings Holger Badstuber and Guido Burgstaller to help the Royal Blues to improve considerably in the second half of the season.

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Schalke have had a mixed campaign to date, recovering after losing their first five matches before ending 2016 with a 2-1 defeat at Hamburger SV that left them 11th in the Bundesliga. Markus Weinzierl's side suffered three defeats from four in December, prompting the club to sign Badstuber on loan from FC Bayern München and Burgstaller from Bundesliga 2 outfit 1. FC Nürnberg.

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Badstuber's defensive qualities are well-known, but Goretzka is confident that Burgstaller will also shine in the top flight after the 27-year-old Austria international scored 14 goals in Bundesliga 2 before the winter break.  

"Both players suit us very well," Goretzka told Schalke's official website. "I think Guido Burgstaller's running will help us a lot going forward. After his successful first half of the season at Nürnberg, he's full of confidence. That's the be-all and end-all for a striker."

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Holger Badstuber will be hoping his injury problems are behind him after joining Schalke on a six-month loan deal. © imago

Schalke have had little fortune in attack until now as Breel Embolo, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Franco Di Santo have all missed a significant chunk of the season through injury. Tottenham Hotspur FC loanee Nabil Bentaleb is their top scorer with four goals from midfield but he will also be absent for the early stages of the second half of the season while playing for Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Schalke have two home games in a row on Matchdays 17 and 18 and Goretzka feels they need to hit the ground running against second bottom FC Ingolstadt 04 on Saturday before facing high-flying Eintracht Frankfurt a week later.

Click here for the Schalke vs Ingolstadt Match Centre

"It will be crucial to start well," the 21-year-old Germany international said. "With good performances in both home games against Ingolstadt and Frankfurt we have the chance to build up our confidence for the rest of the season. If we manage to do that then a lot is possible. We saw in the middle of the first half of the season what can happen when we play well. If we can do that again then we can definitely start climbing the table."

Guido Burgstaller scored a league-high 14 Bundesliga 2 goals for 1. FC Nürnberg during the first half of the season. © imago

Schalke went on a seven-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga during October and November only for that form to desert them before the winter break. Goretzka believes that the club's winter training camp in Benidorm provided a good opportunity to put things right.

"We've looked back at the reasons the results were a bit off," he said. "There's no denying that we were missing some important players. On the other hand the guys who came in did well, but to put it all down to the missing players would be too simple, even if we were obviously lacking some quality. We didn't do a few things in the way that we really wanted to. We need get back to always giving 100 per cent on the pitch – then it will be difficult to beat us."

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