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‘Time to push on’

FCB keen to kick off winning run in Schalke

“No,” said Louis van Gaal, “I don’t know what it’s like, because I’ve never lost 5-0.” The 59-year-old considered for a moment. “But I did lose 9-0 once, with Sparta Rotterdam against Ajax. I was a teacher in Amsterdam at the time, so you can imagine what it was like in class the next day.” Nowadays, almost exactly 25 years on from 8 December 1985, Van Gaal can look back on a bitter experience with a knowing smile.

That is assuredly not the case for Schalke 04 boss Felix Magath. The Royal Blues were thrashed 5-0 by promoted Kaiserslautern last weekend, and the notoriously strict head coach acted immediately. Despite the biting cold, Magath’s players were not allowed winter protection such as gloves and bobble hats in a series of punishing training sessions this week.