Royal Blues coach Huub Stevens took exception to the whistles reserved for his side during the 3-0 win against FSV Mainz 05 on Matchday 5. Had the same 69,000 fans been able to pack into Fortuna Düsseldorf's ESPRIT Arena on Saturday, the protests would presumably have been deafening.
Champions League tonic
Schalke let slip a two-goal advantage in that encounter and their fans, famished in their wait for a maiden Bundesliga crown, continue to expect nothing but the very best from Gelsenkirchen's finest. And they have certainly excelled in their recent forays into Europe's elite club tournament, being stopped only by Barcelona at the quarter-final stage in 2008 and Manchester United in the last four two years ago.
On Wednesday, they return to the stage for which they appear to reserve their finest performances knowing that the home crowd will turn out n anticipation of another three points ending up in the group stage bag. "We have got to learn from our errors, that's for sure," said full-back Christian Fuchs. "Sunday's day off did all of us good in terms of getting us focused on the Champions League."
Focus and respect are what the Royal Blues will need to defeat a side who, like Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga in 2009, caused a real stir by winning the league last term. Theat said, Montpellier are currently toiling down in 13th place in Ligue 1, but memories of that against-the-odds title success still linger, at least in Gelsenkirchen. "Anybody who wins the league in France certainly can't be under-estimated," said skipper Benedikt Höwedes, "but we want to have six points on the board after two games."
Schalke got off to the ideal start in their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win at Olympiacos a fortnight ago and a repeat success would be a big step towards the knockout stage, their self-ascribed minimum target. It would also set them up very nicely for the upcoming double-header with group favourites Arsenal.
On the personnel front, Jefferson Farfan is still a doubt after missing the trip to Düsseldorf, while Stevens has effectively ruled out Jermaine Jones after the midfielder took a blow to the ankle in the game.
Schalke: Unnerstall - Höwedes, Papadopoulos, Matip, Fuchs - Neustädter, Afellay - Farfan, Holtby, Draxler - Huntelaar
Montpellier: Jourdren - Bocaly, Yanga-Mbiwa, Hilton, Jeunechamp - Saihi, Estrada - Cabella, Belhanda, Ait Fana - Camara