by Stefan Doring
Schalke defender Christoph Metzelder believes the club are coming into form at the right stage of the season as they prepare to face Galatasaray in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Gelsenkirchen outfit beat local rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 to go fourth in Bundesliga, and head into the second leg of the last-16 tie against the Turkish champions locked at 1-1.
Jens Keller's side are unbeaten in their last five matches, and while Metzelder is happy with the club's form, he still feels they need to improve again to progress to the quarter-finals.
"We are on an upswing at the moment. The team improved in the last few weeks and we stabilised our performances," he said.
"Nevertheless we have to stay humble. The success came and went during the whole season. We have to step on the gas against Galatasaray."
The Veltins-Arena outfit have been hit by an injury to striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, with the Netherlands international stretchered off in Saturday's win over Dortmund, but Metzelder believes his Finnish replacement can step up to the plate.
He added: "It's of course a setback for us, playing without Huntelaar. He was in a very good shape in the last few games. Now Teemu Pukki has to take his chance, and we know he can do this."
The victory in the Ruhr derby was one of the most exciting matches of the season thus far, and Metzelder thinks it was a great advert for German football.
He continued: "That was a high-class match and promotion for Bundesliga football. Solely, the drama in the last few minutes was unique."