Sand back to his best

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Schalke striker Ebbe Sand feels he has rediscovered his best form because he has retired from international football.

The 32-year-old quit Denmark's national team after the European Championship this summer and is enjoying a fine campaign for his club.

Sand, who signed a new one-year contract earlier this month, believes quitting the international arena has allowed him to focus on Schalke.

The forward now claims he is playing his best football since he was the Bundesliga's top scorer in 2001.

"It (retiring from international football) means I can focus 100 percent on Schalke," Sand told BT. "It gives me a big physical and mental boost.

"I feel it is necessary that I spend all my strength on Schalke. I haven't regretted that I stopped with the national team. It was the correct decision.

"Everything is working. I have played in 16 consecutive matches and it has gone better than my expectations.

"I have to look back to the 2000/01 season to recall a spell which was as good for me."

With Schalke currently sitting two points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, Sand feels the title is not beyond the club's reach.

He added: "As things are going for Schalke right now, I feel we can aim for something big. Our ambition is to win Die Bundesliga."