Schalke entered the winter break at the very top of the table, tied with league-leaders Bremen on points, so it's no surprise they've made few changes. But why doesn't anyone think they can win the league?
Kevin Kuranyi and co. are riding high but few think they can go the distance
The answer is history. Schalke haven't won a league title in almost half a century, and along with the Leverkusen, they've developed a reputation for being often the bridesmaids but never the brides. As Bayern President Franz Beckenbauer put it, "They always trip themselves up."
There's no objective reason why Schalke can't end up on top. They're well-staffed at all positions and have shown this year that they can win without playing particularly well. In addition, by shipping disgruntled keeper Frank Rost to Hamburg, they've gotten rid of their main personnel conflict.
Skepticism, of course, remains -- particularly among their long-suffering fans. But even if Schalke fail once again to take home the silverware, it would take a mighty collapse to deny them a Champions League spot.
Goal: Manuel Neuer, Dennis Lamczyk
Defense: Mathias Abel, Marcelo Bordon, Mladen Krstajic, Darío Rodriguez, Rafinha, Christian Pander, Tim Hoogland, Sebastian Boenisch
Midfield: Fabian Ernst, Lincoln, Levan Kobiashvili, Hamit Altintop, Gustavo Varela, Zlatan Bajramovic, Mesut Özil, Timo Kunert, Markus Heppke
Strikers: Gerald Asamoah, Halil Altintop, Kevin Kuranyi, Sören Larsen, Peter Lövenkrands
(as of January 2007)