Berlin: New coach Roberto Di Matteo will lead Schalke 04`s comeback bid against Hertha Berlin on Saturday, with the former Italy international tasked with ironing out the German club`s rollercoaster performances so far.
The former Chelsea coach, who won the Champions League with them in 2012 in a caretaker role, replaced Jens Keller earlier this month after Schalke dropped to 11th on eight points following their 2-1 loss at Hoffenheim on Oct. 4.
Di Matteo has since had two weeks, due to the break for international matches, to get a feel for the team as they prepare for Hertha.
"Obviously we want the three points," said Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes, ready for his own comeback following a hip injury.
"We want to dominate and put into action the plans of our coach. If we do that we will leave the pitch as winners."
Hoewedes` defensive work has been missing as Schalke won just two of their seven league games so far this season and conceded 12 goals.
A first round German Cup exit to third tier team Dynamo Dresden added to their miserable start in the domestic competitions. They did bag, however, two draws in the Champions League group stage so far.
"Roberto Di Matteo is very meticulous and his instructions are clear," said World Cup winner Hoewedes.
"He has clear ideas about what he wants and what system to play. I am the extended arm of the coaching staff to transport those ideas to the team."
Di Matteo has no previous Bundesliga coaching experience and apart from his eight-month stint at Chelsea, he also coached Milton Keynes Dons and West Bromwich Albion in England.
He will need all the manpower he can have for his Bundesliga debut and Hoewedes is set to be joined in the starting lineup by fellow Germany international Julian Draxler.
The talented midfielder`s suspected thigh muscle injury that saw him substituted in Germany`s 1-1 draw against Ireland on Tuesday, turned out to be a minor knock.
In an unusual clash of the top team against the bottom club, Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, four points clear on 17, take on former Bundesliga powerhouse Werder Bremen, on four points.
Last season`s runners-up Borussia Dortmund, in 13th on seven, will look to make up for lost ground when they take on promoted Cologne.