Hertha Berlin forward Salomon Kalou has revealed his excitement at the prospect of facing his former manager Roberto Di Matteo in the weekend’s Bundesliga clash at Schalke.
Kalou, 29, was part of Di Matteo’s Champions League-winning Chelsea side in 2012, but left the club that summer for French outfit Lille after his contract expired.
Di Matteo, meanwhile, was sacked in November of the following campaign and has been without a job until being named Jens Keller’s replacement at Schalke last week, with the coming match set to be his first at the helm.
‘Roberto is a good coach and great person,’ Kalou told Berliner Morgenpost. ‘We had a very special relationship, where I had the best win of my life.
‘Playing against him will be a pleasure.’
Di Matteo also paid compliments to his former star man ahead of the clash, telling reporters at his press conference: ‘Salomon is a player who can cause defences big problems.
‘With him they have brought a very good striker, but I see us being well prepared and am optimistic that we will deliver a good game.
‘I look forward to playing in front of our fans and enjoying the atmosphere of our stadium,’ he continued. ‘This week helped me to get to know all the players and work hard.
'It’ll take time to get out of this run and we will have to fight, but I am optimistic. This team has a great potential and once organised on the pitch we will do great things.’
Schalke sit 11th in the table at present, after a disappointing start which has seen the club take just eight points from their first seven matches, with Hertha one place behind them in 12th with an identical record.
As Di Matteo noted, Kalou will no doubt pose the biggest threat to the home side on the afternoon, having chalked up three goals in five league appearances since joining the team in August from Lille.