Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel dismisses talk he will be Schalke manager next season
Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel has distanced himself from speculation he will be in charge of Schalke next season.
Last Updated: 15/02/13 11:42am
Tuchel's name is being linked with the Royal Blues post, which is likely to become vacant again in the summer when the contract of current coach Jens Keller expires.
Keller has failed to fulfil expectations since replacing Huub Stevens before Christmas, and with the club slumping to their lowest position of the season, the chances of him staying on are reducing by the game.
Tuchel, who is on course to lead Mainz into the Europa League for the second time in three years, has developed the credentials to become Keller's successor but has made it clear on the eve of tomorrow's clash at the Coface Arena that he is happy where he is.
"As things stand, I can give it a very clear 'yes' that I will still be coach in Mainz next season," he said at a press conference.
His more immediate concern is keeping Mainz in the top six, and putting a further three points between his side and Schalke, whose crisis he claims will not have any impact on his preparations.
"Schalke have a lot of quality in their side and belong in the top three in the Bundesliga," he said.
"A lot is being made of their current situation, but we are not wasting any energy on thinking about how things are going with our opponents.
"We can only create advantages for ourselves on the field."
Tuchel will be without Shawn Parker, who has been banned for two games for his red card a week ago, a decision Tuchel still cannot fathom.
"There have been a lot of unfortunate refereeing decisions against us in the second half of the season," he said.
"Let's hope they remain extraordinary incidents."
Schalke have more absences to bemoan with Atsuto Uchida joining the list of injured, which includes influential Dutch duo Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Ciprian Marica and Christoph Moritz are also definitely out while Jefferson Farfan and Marco Hoger are minor doubts.
"It's as if there is a curse over us," said Keller. "But complaining gets us nowhere, we have got to deal with the situation and make the best of it."