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Sports

Schalke

Jefferson Farfan balances a ball in training

Recent addition Jefferson Farfan is looking to put Schalke on top

Schalke has gone a half-century and counting without a league championship, but they can't be faulted for lack of trying. This year, too, they've invested heavily in an attempt to wrest the crown from Bayern. And this time round, again, Schalke is emphasizing Dutch talent.

For an estimated 7 million euros, they bought Orlando Engelaar who, despite being unusually big for a midfielder, impressed for the Netherlands at this summer's European Championship. And for 10 million more, they acquired Jefferson Farfan from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven to spice up an often ordinary-looking attack. Last but not least, Dutch coach Fred Ruetten takes over the reins.

Are they the keys to take Schalke from third place in 2007-08 to first in 2008-09? Probably not, especially as Schalke have lost keeper Manuel Neuer to injury and defender Rafinha to the Olympics for the initial weeks of the season. But they could leapfrog Bremen into second, and if they do fall agonizingly short yet again, no one can say they didn't try.

Major arrivals: Jefferson Farfan, Orlando Engelaar

Major departures: Mimoun Azaouagh, Zlatan Bajramovic