Huntelaar still confident of top-three finish

Schalke ended 2012 in poor form, but the Dutch striker is certain they can put their bad run behind them and secure an automatic Champions League place
Klass-Jan Huntelaar remains optimistic that Schalke can recover their form and finish in the top three of the Bundesliga come the end of the season.

The Gelsenkirchen outfit endured a torrid end to 2012, failing to win any of their final six league fixtures and falling to seventh place, with head coach Huub Stevens sacked as a result.

Despite a recent 5-0 mid-season friendly defeat to Bayern Munich, Huntelaar remains positive about the second half of the campaign, though.

"We want to qualify for the Champions League again," the 29-year-old Netherlands forward told the club's official website.

"We all know that it is not easy but the distance between us and the top is not so great that we need to revise our goals."

Huntelaar, who signed a two-year contract extension just before Christmas, went on to voice his confidence that his team-mates can show their true potential in the second half of the season.

"We have a lot of quality in the team," he added.

"And we will continue do everything that we do at 100 per cent."

Schalke resume action after the winter hiatus by entertaining Hannover on January 18.