Chelsea duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz need strong personalities to succeed at Stamford Bridge, according to Kevin Kuranyi.

Germany stars Werner and Havertz both joined Chelsea at the start of the season, from RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, amid high expectations but it has been a challenging start to life for the pair in the Premier League.

After scoring 28 goals in the Bundesliga and 34 across all competitions last season, Werner has found the back of the net on 11 occasions and supplied nine assists for Chelsea this term, including six Premier League goals.

Havertz – who became Chelsea's most expensive outfield player ahead of the 2020-21 campaign – has shown glimpses of his quality with six goals and six assists, though he has largely struggled.

Former Germany striker Kuranyi backed the pair to rediscover their best form in London.

"Of course they were playing a really high level in Germany," 52-time Germany international Kuranyi, who played for Stuttgart and Schalke in the Bundesliga, told Stats Perform News.

"But if you play in a club like Chelsea… I was talking with some friends who play at Chelsea before and there it is very important to have a strong personality to play there.

"They are young players, like Havertz – he is in the first step of his career. He made a big, big step so he needs time to keep his quality at Chelsea.

"I think the first year is very important to learn a lot, to try to do the best, but in the second and third year will be much better."

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea – fourth in the Premier League – are preparing to face Real Madrid in the opening leg of their Champions League semi-final showdown on Tuesday.

Kevin Kuranyi lauded Sasa Kalajdzic as he backed the Stuttgart star to join one of Europe's biggest clubs amid growing interest.

Kalajdzic has enjoyed a fairy-tale debut season in the Bundesliga, scoring 14 goals and supplying four assists following Stuttgart's return to Germany's top flight. Only Robert Lewandowski (36), Erling Haaland (25), Andre Silva (25), Wout Weghorst (20) and Andrej Kramaric (17) have found the back of the net more often in 2020-21.

The 23-year-old Austria international forward, who has been linked with the likes of Juventus, Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, scored in seven successive games this season – a club record shared with Fredi Bobic (1995-96).

Kalajdzic has managed 14 goals in 30 Bundesliga appearances – the same amount as Kuranyi in his first 30 league games for the club, though his minutes-to-goal ratio (134) is superior to the retired striker's (152). His form has helped Stuttgart to reach the top 10 in the table with just three games remaining.

Only five players in Stuttgart's Bundesliga history have scored more goals in their first 30 games than Kuranyi and Kalajdzic: Vedad Ibisevic (18), Hermann Ohlicher (17), Dieter Holler, Tim Walter and Jurgen Klinsmann (15).

Asked about Kalajdzic, Stuttgart great Kuranyi told Stats Perform News: "I think they are playing a really good season, while Sasa is playing really, really well.

"I think two weeks ago, he scored a headed goal similar [to] my time and I was remembering, wow, this guy can be really a top player in the Bundesliga or maybe in a big club in Europe.

"I know him because I met him a lot of times in rehabilitation because when he arrived at Stuttgart, he was a bit injured. He's a great personality, he's a good guy with a good mentality and also a nice person.

"I wish for him really a big career and I hope he keeps doing well."

Pellegrino Matarazzo's Stuttgart boast another prized asset in Silas Wamangituka, who was taking the Bundesliga by storm before suffering a season-ending injury in March.

Electrifying 21-year-old forward Wamangituka tallied 11 goals and four assists prior to the knee injury, having played a key role in Stuttgart's promotion from 2. Bundesliga last term.

"I am really impressed because he's a fast player. He is good in one-on-one, makes a lot of goals," added ex-Germany international Kuranyi.

"[He] was a big risk at the start, but now the player shows his quality. Of course, it's very bad that he picked up the injury, but if he comes back, he will show it again and will keep going at Stuttgart."

Former Dortmund and Arsenal chief scout Sven Mislintat – working alongside Thomas Hitzlsperger – has been instrumental in overseeing Stuttgart's rise back to the Bundesliga after he was appointed sporting director two years ago.

With a reputation of unearthing footballing gems, Kalajdzic and Wamangituka have both arrived during Mislintat's time at the three-time Bundesliga champions, who were relegated in 2018-19 but bounced straight back.

"I think [he has been] very important," said Kuranyi. "Of course, he worked in big clubs like Dortmund and Arsenal, he understands a lot about football.

"He was scouting in all these clubs and he finds a lot of top players, young players. And now as a sporting director, he can use all his talent, what they learn in the in the past to make his own team and he's [doing] really, really good. I think for Stuttgart it was a good decision to take a top guy like him."

While there is speculation over Kalajdzic, captain Gonzalo Castro is set to leave Stuttgart after not being offered a new deal at Mercedes-Benz Arena.

"For me it was [a] surprise because he's the captain of the team at the moment," Kuranyi said. "He's an experienced player, who can keep this young team together and who can show them the right way to play good football.

"It was difficult to see this decision. For the player and for everyone, it's good to keep strong and experienced players in the team."

Kuranyi emerged from Stuttgart's youth team in 2001 after relocating from Brazil and the ex-Germany international went on to win the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Twice Stuttgart's top goalscorer, Kuranyi almost helped the club to Bundesliga glory in 2002-03, Felix Magath's men finishing second to Bayern Munich as they qualified for the Champions League.

"For me it was something special because when I came from Brazil, I started in Stuttgart and the young team," said the 39-year-old Kuranyi, who scored 57 goals in total before moving to Schalke in 2005.

"I learned a lot in this club and when I became professional, they had a bad time, but it was good for us young players. They gave us the chance to play in the first team, to be a good professional player at 19.

"We used this situation to make one of the best young teams in the league. Of course, we qualified for the Champions League. We were playing [a] really, really top season in the Champions League with so many young players and for them and also for the city, Stuttgart was something special. Also, for me as a player."

Stuttgart enjoyed a memorable 2003-04 Champions League campaign, Kuranyi scoring as the Reds beat Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in their debut group-stage appearance as they reached the knockout rounds.

Kuranyi, whose side eventually succumbed to Chelsea in the round of 16, added: "I think the best moment [of my time with the club] was when we were playing the Champions League and we beat Manchester United with the big players: [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, [Paul] Scholes, [Rio] Ferdinand and [Ryan] Giggs.

"For us young players with Phillip Lahm, [Alexander] Hleb, myself and other top players, it was a really, really a special moment to show all around the world that Stuttgart can beat a big club like Manchester United."

Schalke are seven-time Bundesliga champions and one of the biggest names in world football.

A sporting institution and breeding ground for future greats, the Royal Blues were runners-up as recently as 2018. Schalke, led by Raul, were also Champions League semi-finalists in 2011. So, after 30 straight seasons in the top flight, it seemed unfathomable that one of the Bundesliga's founding members could drop down to Germany's second tier.

But they will be playing in 2. Bundesliga in 2021-22, their demise made official with four matches remaining after Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Arminia Bielefeld.

It has truly been a dismal season for the club who have unearthed Manuel Neuer, Leroy Sane, Mesut Ozil, Benedikt Howedes and Julian Draxler thanks to their famed academy.

Schalke only have two wins to their name from 30 matches for a paltry 13 points.

The turbulent nature of their campaign has been headlined by five coaches in a season – a Bundesliga record.

After David Wagner was given his marching orders in September, Manuel Baum lasted until December before Schalke turned to one of their favourite sons Huub Stevens – a UEFA Cup and DFB-Pokal winner – on an interim basis. Christian Gross was hired but he and other senior staff officials were sacked by February as part of a shake-up amid internal turmoil and player unrest. The relatively unknown Dimitrios Grammozis was appointed in March, however the club were already doomed.

Kevin Kuranyi – one of Schalke's finest – spent five years in Gelsenkirchen, where the former Germany international was their leading goalscorer from 2005-08 as the team finished runners-up twice and secured three consecutive Champions League berths, including a quarter-final showdown against Barcelona in 2008.

"For me was special to play for such a big club," Kuranyi, who left Schalke in 2010 after 209 appearances and 87 goals following his 2005 arrival from Stuttgart, told Stats Perform News.

"We had a really good time with the club. We were playing in the Champions League, the fans and everything was really something special in my career. And for me was an honour to play there with a lot of top players who are now playing in the biggest clubs in the world.

"Of course [in recent years] they have a lot of changes. I think in the last three, four years, you know, they change a lot of the sport directors, coaches and I think they don't really have a structure and a long-term plan.

"All these changes make everything a little bit difficult."

The likes of Leon Goretzka, Alexander Nubel, Breel Embolo, Thilo Kehrer, Max Meyer, Ozan Kabak and Weston McKennie have left Veltins-Arena in recent years and the replacements have not provided value for money.

Schalke invested in Sebastian Rudy, Suat Serdar, Omar Mascarell, Rabbi Matondo, Salif Sane, Mark Uth and Hamza Mendyl and Benito Raman over the past three terms, while big-name veterans Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar arrived during this season, but failed to make an impact.

"They invest a lot of money," Kuranyi said. "The players who they bring in for €10-15million, they don't return with good performances and points so it's difficult to work with this, they make a lot of mistakes the last few years."

Unheralded American forward Matthew Hoppe has been a rare shining light, the club's leading scorer in the Bundesliga with five goals – Schalke have only found the back of the net a league-low 18 times.

Schalke's minutes-to-goal ratio is 150, by far the worst of any team in the Bundesliga. As for their shot conversion rate, it stands at just 6.69 per cent – easily the lowest in the competition. For comparison, leaders and defending champions Bayern Munich top the list with 16.93 per cent. Only Bielefeld (39.9 to 40.32 per cent) have a poorer shooting accuracy this term.

The boys in blue have also lacked creativity. In 2020-21, Schalke have only created 190 chances – the lowest return across the league, while their passing accuracy (76.7) is the sixth worst.

Schalke have had the same woes at the other end of the pitch, conceding a league-high 76 goals and keeping four clean sheets – only Cologne have managed less (three). They have also recorded five errors leading to goals, a total only exceeded by Werder Bremen (six).

Now, Schalke are preparing for life in the second division for the first time since 1990-91.

It is a situation that has outraged fans and it came to a head after Tuesday's loss away to Bielefeld. Supporters were waiting for the team in Gelsenkirchen, where some players were seen fleeing a group of angry Ultras in footage circulating on social media – Schalke later condemned the incident.

"I think [the fans are hurting] a lot you know a big club like Schalke is not a club for the second league," the 39-year-old Kuranyi said.

"Schalke have big tradition, they have a lot of good memories in the old times. So it's really difficult for the fans to get the situation, to play in the second league, to try to go up again.

"I think in the next two, three years will be a hard time for Schalke. And, of course, all the fans are in a bad moment now."

Schalke were among 16 founding members of the inaugural Bundesliga in 1963, including Hamburg.

Hamburg – another proud and historic German outfit – were sensationally relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in 2018 and are yet to return. Schalke are now following in their footsteps.

"It's all about the plan, what they have," Kuranyi said when asked of Schalke can bounce back immediately. "It's not easy if you see Hamburg, if you see another clubs who are trying to go up in the last two, three years. You see how difficult it is to play in the second league.

"Schalke, of course, will be the top club in the second league. Every small club will do everything to beat them. So they need to have a big plan for the future. They need to check what the possibilities also to keep the top players. What's the possibility to take young talented players to play a good second league season."

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