Schalke bank on Huntelaar to lead recovery

BERLIN - Schalke 04 are hoping the arrival of Dutch striker Klass-Jan Huntelaar will kick-start their season when they travel to leaders Hoffenheim on Friday after opening their Bundesliga campaign with two straight defeats.

Last season's surprise runners-up, who will also compete in the Champions League, have suffered a disappointing start despite signing former Real Madrid striker Raul and spending more new players than any other Bundesliga club.

However, the arrival of the Dutch striker from AC Milan, who will be given freedom to play in his favoured central attacking position, could turn things around against Hoffenheim, winners of both their Bundesliga matches to date.

"Finally we have a player who is better than many others," Schalke coach Felix Magath told reporters on Wednesday. "This team now has more potential than last year's."

"He (Huntelaar) won't take long to integrate himself. He knows where the goal is and that is what we have been missing lately," said Magath.

Huntelaar scored five goals in two Euro 2012 qualifiers in the last week and cannot wait to prove himself on Friday, playing next to former Real team mate Raul.

"We fit well together," Huntelaar said. "Success will now come to Schalke and that is why I am here."

While Schalke have been busy assembling their strike force, defending champions Bayern Munich will also be hoping a home victory against rivals Werder Bremen can put their title defence on track.

Bayern, sitting in 12th place on three points from two games, need to start racking up the points with a busy schedule looming and winger Arjen Robben still sidelined by a muscle injury aggravated at the World Cup.

They have so far failed to convince, needing a last-gasp goal to edge VfL Wolfsburg on the opening day and slumping to a defeat against promoted Kaiserslautern.

Bremen will be without their best central defenders, Naldo and Per Mertesacker, who are both injured.

However, they will be dangerous up front with the pairing of Claudio Pizarro and Austrian Marko Arnautovic, whose double strike against Cologne two weeks ago served notice that he could be one of this season's revelations.

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