Champions League: Galatasaray – Schalke preview

“There’s a perception, as we have Sneijder and Drogba, we’ll advance comfortably,” said Fatih Terim, keen to quell expectations before Galatasaray AŞ’s visit from FC Schalke 04.



The arrival of UEFA Champions League winners Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder has raised expectation levels on the banks of the Bosporus before Galatasaray AŞ’s round of 16 opener against an FC Schalke 04 side who have won just one Bundesliga match since 10 November.

However, coach Fatih Terim has warned that Schalke are “quality team” with “dangerous players” – and despite their disappointing domestic form, the visitors “can’t wait” to get going in Istanbul.

Fatih Terim, coach
Schalke are a quality team. They have dangerous players like Christian Fuchs, Benedikt Höwedes, Jefferson Farfán and Michel Bastos. Any victory we get without conceding a goal is an advantage for the second leg. I have faith in my players because the response I’m getting from them is very positive. Schalke are a team who defend aggressively and switch to attack very quickly.

There’s a perception that because we have Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba we’ll advance to the next round comfortably. Please be aware that both players didn’t play for a few months [before signing]. My biggest wish is to benefit from their experience in the UEFA Champions League. Sneijder is a key player with his intelligence. Both he and Drogba are adapting fast to their team-mates and this makes me very happy.

Will Drogba start tomorrow? I’ll decide tonight. The starting XI is shaped in my mind. There can only be one change. Players may change, but there won’t be a change in our philosophy. We have been careful in the big games this season – the Schalke match must be the same.

When you have a squad like this, I can understand heightened expectations. Wherever I have been, we always tried to keep the level high. Hopefully we can reach the last eight. People should dream – unless you dream you can’t be successful. If we get through this round people won’t be satisfied with a semi-final berth. Any trophy that isn’t won is a failure for me, even in competitions where you compete against more powerful teams than your own.

Weekend result
Friday: Akhisar Belediyespor 1-2 Galatasaray (Sertan Vardar 85; Drogba 68, Burak Yılmaz 70)
Muslera; Sabri Sarıoğlu, Semih Kaya, Nounkeu, Riera; Hamit Altıntop, Selçuk İnan, Yekta Kurtuluş (Amrabat 62), Sneijder (Eboué 78); Umut Bulut (Drogba 62), Burak.

• Drogba came off the bench to score three minutes into his competitive debut for Galatasaray, who ended a run of three away games without a win. Burak Yılmaz then registered the 100th league goal of his career.

Team news
Defender Tomáš Ujfaluši is expected to be out for a few more weeks due to a cartilage tear in his left knee.

Jens Keller, coach

We got a point in our last match [at 1. FSV Mainz 05], showing that we can come back if we fall behind. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has recovered and he will certainly make a big contribution for us. We just can’t wait for the match tomorrow. Galatasaray are serious opponents. We have analysed them closely and know how to overcome them.

As I’ve said before, we have come here to get a good result. I’m also very excited because it will be my first match in the UEFA Champions League as a coach. Our initial target was reaching the round of 16; now we are targeting the quarter-finals. Michel Bastos is a key player for us, he featured in the last World Cup. Max Meyer is very determined and he’ll have a place in the team tomorrow.

Weekend result
Saturday: 1. FSV Mainz 05 2-2 Schalke (Ivanschitz 27, Pospěch 63; Bastos 41 82)
Hildebrand; Höger, Höwedes, Matip, Fuchs; Jones, Neustädter; Draxler (Barnetta 90+1), Raffael (Meyer 72), Bastos; Farfán (Pukki 85).

• Winter signing Michel Bastos has now scored three goals in as many Bundesliga games, with 17-year-old midfield debutant Max Meyer setting up the winger’s second against Mainz ten minutes after coming on for Raffael. Ninth-placed Schalke, however, have won just one of their last 11 Bundesliga matches.

Team news
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has received the green light to play after doctors treated a blood clot in his eye that forced him to miss two Bundesliga outings. Atsuto Uchida, Ibrahim Afellay, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Ciprian Marica, Christoph Moritz and goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall are absent with various injuries while January recruit Raffael is ineligible.

Match fact
This is Galatasaray’s 12th home meeting with Bundesliga opposition and they are seeking just their third victory – having won none of their last five games against German clubs in Istanbul. Their overall home record against teams from Germany is W2 D7 L2.

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