SCHALKE LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Schalke will have to put their disappointment at losing Raul behind them as they search for a place in the Champions League group stage next season.
Raul this week announced that he will be leaving Gelsenkirchen in the summer, meaning he now has only three games remaining for the Royal Blues starting with Saturday's trip to Augsburg.
And defender Christoph Metzelder admitted the news came as a bombshell to the team.
"The atmosphere was very sombre," he told the Bild newspaper. "You could tell that it was not very easy for him."
Nevertheless, Metzelder, who was also a team-mate of Raul's at Real Madrid, says life must go on for the Royal Blues as they seek to defend third spot from Borussia Monchengladbach.
"Schalke survived before Raul and Schalke will survive after him too," he said.
"Maybe the fans will have new stars to celebrate in the autumn."
What the fans really want to celebrate, though, is a place in Europe's elite club competition without the need for a nail-biting qualifying match in August.
Schalke have their destiny in their own hands and Benedikt Howedes says they need not even look at Gladbach's results.
"We have got to try to win our last three games," he said on his club's website.
"If we manage that, then we will have wrapped up a certain place in the Champions League."
Augsburg will be mathematically safe with just one more win, if Cologne fail to beat Stuttgart today, and that will be their aim in front of their own fans.
"We want to take another step closer to safety with a win," said their coach Jos Luhukay.
"We have put ourselves into a good position and we would now like to use this to achieve our great objective of survival."
Augsburg could be without Tobias Werner and Sascha Molders, who are both carrying knocks.
Latest Football News at 13:59 BST