Schalke head coach Jens Keller remains wary of upcoming opponents Hamburg despite the latter's disjointed pre-season.
Keller's team will kick off their 2013/14 Bundesliga campaign at home against Hamburg on Sunday and the Schalke boss has urged his players to stay focused and ignore speculation about their opponents.
Hamburg lost four of their 10 pre-season matches, including three defeats in their last four, while they have been dogged by stories of financial difficulties, with the northern club keen to offload players to reduce their wage bill.
There have been rumours of a group of five Hamburg players being forced to train with the youth team in a bid to force them out of the club, while Son Heung-Min, who scored 12 Bundesliga goals last season, has been sold to Bayer Leverkusen, but Keller remains convinced they will be tough opponents for Schalke.
"I've always said that I'm not interested about how a team's preparatory phase goes," Keller said on Friday.
"We've experienced a pre-season phase that didn't go well.
"It's still possible to play a successful season after.
"So what happened during that phase is something that doesn't interest us.
"We focus on the sports aspect of things. We know that (Hamburg) still have a good team and they might have gained momentum after their win in the (German) Cup (last Sunday).
"So we are focused and are expecting a strong team from Hamburg."
Schalke finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, which qualified them for the play-off round of the UEFA Champions League.
They have been drawn to play Ukraine's Metalist Kharkiv in a two-legged tie this month for a spot in the Champions League group stages.
Although Schalke's involvement in the Champions League last season seemed to take away from their league form, they recovered from sitting ninth in February to finish fourth.
Keller would still prefer to play in Europe's premier continental competition, and have to deal with the extra games, than miss out and have an easier season in the Bundesliga.
"We fought hard to get the opportunity to try and get into the Champions League group phase and so for now, before the games, it's not a burden for us," Keller said.
"What will happen after, we will see but we are feeling optimistic, we want to go through and reach the group stages."
|25||K. Huntelaar||2' 45+2'|
|Coach: J. Keller|
for J. Draxler 23'
for R. Neustädter 58'
|Mkhitaryan keeping fingers crossed over injury|
|Casillas left frustrated by Alex Telles red card|
|Anything can happen at King Power Stadium – Away goal lifts Schmeichel|
|Ranieri hails Leicester´s ´big heart´ in Sevilla loss|
|Krasnodar celebrate eighth anniversary by eliminating Fenerbahce|
|Home bird Rooney not suited to China - Phil Neville|
|Ramos rejects claims of bad Real Madrid attitude|
|Porto 0 Juventus 2: Substitutes Pjaca and Alves give Bianconeri command|
|Sevilla 2 Leicester City 1: Vardy´s strike tees up second leg after Schmeichel heroics|
|Madrid lead is not worth anything – Zidane|
|Dropped Bonucci must adapt to the rules – Marotta|
|I cannot do what Man City did at Chelsea - Mourinho withering over FA Cup schedule|
|Marcelo: Real Madrid must learn from horror start at Valencia|
|Manchester United head to Wembley brimming with confidence – Smalling|
|Valencia 2 Real Madrid 1: Zaza stunner hands title hope to Barcelona|
|Manchester United duo Mkhitaryan and Carrick set to miss EFL Cup final|
|Alba: Luis Enrique the best coach for Barca|
|Sorry for that poor guy - Sane apologises after costing punter huge windfall|
|Saint-Etienne 0 Manchester United 1 (0-4 agg): Mkhitaryan on target before injury scare|
|Kessie dreaming of Manchester United move|
|Kane refuses to blame ´incredible´ Wembley for Champions League exit|
|Mkhitaryan limps out of Manchester United Europa League clash|
|De Sciglio back in AC Milan training|
|Perez ´really comfortable´ after settling at Arsenal|
|Lallana signs three-year extension at Liverpool|
|Lyon have already discussed replacing Lacazette - Aulas|
|Low pleased to avoid fatigue after Euro 2016 campaign|
|Some teams are beaten before kick-off - Hazard hails Chelsea home form|
|AFC Champions League Review: Misery for history-making Yuen-ting, Ramires boosts Jiangsu|
|Spalletti not interested in Europa League favourites tag|
|Ventura: Balotelli´s latest signs not positive|
|Vela not expecting Real Sociedad Champions League return|
|Schone renews for two years at Ajax|
|Pochettino calls for patience in Tottenham trophy hunt|
|Demirbay earns two-year Hoffenheim extension|
|Origi eyeing first team place at Liverpool|
|Tottenham legend King encourages Alli to keep his edge|
|Pochettino: Spurs must wait for Rose return|
|Romero eyes Europa League title ahead of birthday trip to Saint-Etienne|
|Mowbray tasked with saving struggling Blackburn|
|Four more years? Celtic´s Dembele not stressing amid Real Madrid links|
|RB Leipzig or Salzburg Champions League ban ´hypothetical´ - UEFA|
|Manchester United have world-class players in every position - Forster|
|James: Zidane´s rotation does not affect Real Madrid|
|Redan to snub Manchester United and sign Ajax deal|
|Giovinco turned down China move ´for now´ - agent|
|Guardiola wanted to destroy Monaco´s 4-4-2, says Fabinho|
|Sagna hails Stones after ´vital´ Manchester City goal|
|Deulofeu loves AC Milan but future ´depends on Barcelona´|
|Monaco lacked intelligence, says frustrated Falcao|
|That is why Manchester City wanted me - Guardiola relishes Champions League thriller|
|Tianjin deny Rooney bid but admit Aubameyang talks|
|Deportivo Saprissa 0 Pachuca 0: Champions League quarter-final evenly poised|
|Gameiro angered by substitution in Atletico win|
|´I give nothing for free´ – Mourinho tells Shaw to learn from Mkhitaryan|
|Champions League quarter-finals still possible for Monaco, says Silva|
|Guardiola asks me for more, more, more - Aguero happy to fight on at Manchester City|
|It was like ice hockey - Monaco vice-president stunned by Champions League clash|
|Proud Griezmann eyes more Atletico history|
|Toure marvels at Caballero heroics in Manchester City-Monaco thriller|
|Buffon hopes to play well against Casillas|
|Schmidt: It is easy to see how Atletico Madrid have reached two finals in three years|
|Falcao penalty miss was key – Jardim|
|Guardiola: If one team can score a thousand, million goals it is Monaco|
|Griezmann hails ´brilliant´ Gameiro as Atletico see off Leverkusen|
|Simeone all smiles after Atletico dismantle Leverkusen|
|Spot-kick revision pays off for Caballero|
|Championship Review: Huddersfield boost top-two hopes, Wednesday beaten|
|Toprak laments bad result as Leverkusen lose at home to Atletico|
|Aguero grapples for glory as strikers shine in Manchester City v Monaco|
|Bayer Leverkusen 2 Atletico Madrid 4: Simeone´s side in control|
|Manchester City 5 Monaco 3: Guardiola´s side prevail in all-time classic|
|AFC Champions League Review: Al Rayyan and Al Ahli off to winning starts|
|Ranieri: Sevilla game can be a turning point for Leicester|
|Allegri confirms Bonucci absence after row|
|Nuno confident Porto can beat Juventus|
|Matthaus encourages Gotze to stay at Dortmund|
|Martial: I love Manchester United and I want to stay|
|I would never force out Manchester United legend Rooney - Mourinho|
|Anderlecht insist Tielemans not leaving on the cheap|
|Leicester can´t afford to live in the past, warns Sampaoli|
|Porto´s home comforts, shot-shy Leicester & Sevilla meet - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Puyol backs Barcelona for Champions League miracle|
|Sutton´s pie-munching keeper Shaw resigns|
|Coyle leaves struggling Blackburn|
|Sampaoli noncommittal on Sevilla future despite contract offer|
|Higuain backs Dybala to become ´among the best in the world´|
|Ancelotti escapes punishment for middle finger|
|Pie-eating Sutton goalkeeper´s antics under investigation|
|AFC Champions League Review: 2014 winners Wanderers thrashed, Hulk inspires 10 men|
|Zidane reveals Ronaldo´s favourite position|
|Lippi backs Allegri for Juve stay|
|Zidane: Isco knows I love him|
|Rooney returns to United training|
|Higuain confident Juventus can win Champions League|
|Giggs the dream pro-am partner for Manchester United fanatic McIlroy|
|Kane hopes Spurs can get used to Wembley|
|Hazard: I gave everything to come back|
|Like Cantona, Ibrahimovic embraces United pressure - Giggs|
|Wenger: Perez deserves more chances|
|Wenger denies using Sanchez was risky|
|Tite: I wish Messi was born in Brazil|
|Jardim praises ´great striker´ Falcao|
|Reported Barcelona target Sampaoli offered Sevilla extension|
|´Angry´ Messi didn´t celebrate because of criticism – Bauza|
|´He is going to have to do it himself´ – Guardiola backs Aguero|
|Toure backs Sterling and Sane for the top|
|Pique: Barcelona were in deep s*** when Luis Enrique arrived|
|Thoughts of Bayern mauling stopped Wenger from enjoying Arsenal FA Cup win|