Veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has returned to Schalke for a second spell to help the club in their fight against relegation from the Bundesliga.
The 37-year-old, who scored 126 goals in 240 games in seven seasons at Schalke from 2010 to 2017, joins from Ajax on a short-term contract until the end of the season.
Schalke are rock bottom of the Bundesliga with just seven points from 16 games. Koln are five points ahead in the relegation play-off spot, while Arminia Bielefeld sit a further two points up in safety.
“We need to win games and score goals to climb up the table,” Huntelaar told the club’s official website. “I want to play my part in the club staying up. Schalke belongs in the Bundesliga and it’s our responsibility to make sure that we stay here.”
The former Netherlands international will link up with former team-mate Sead Kolasinac, who returned to the club on loan from Arsenal earlier in the January transfer window.
Huntelaar had seven goals in 11 Eredivisie games to his name for Ajax this season, but dropped down the pecking order following the signing of Sebastien Haller from West Ham.
Schalke fans will no doubt be hoping ‘The Hunter’ can give his side a boost and make an instant impact back in the Bundesliga. In 2011-12, he was top scorer in the division with 29 goals in 32 games, hitting 48 in 48 in all competitions as Schalke won the DFB-Pokal and finished third in the table.
He is the club’s second-highest goalscorer ever, and holds the title of Schalke’s top scorer in UEFA competitions with 31.
Those recent glory days now seem a long way away for those at the club, with Schalke in serious danger of being relegated to the 2. Bundesliga for the first time since 1988.
An unexpected 4-0 thrashing of Hoffenheim recently brought their historic 30-game winless streak to an end, 359 days after their previous victory in the Bundesliga.
Former manager Manuel Baum was dismissed in September after just 11 games in charge, with the experienced Christian Gross stepping in during the Christmas period.