Schalke vs Man Utd ECL Semi Final Preview
German runners-up Schalke host English runners-up Manchester United in the first of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday night, so here’s our comprehensive preview. >
*Schalke 04 v Manchester United’ @ Veltins Arena *Road to Semis’’‘Schalke’’
-1st in Group B, above Lyon, Benfica & Hapoel Tel Aviv -Round of 16, defeated Valencia 4-2 on aggregate -Quarter Final, defeated Inter Milan 7-3 on aggregate
Manchester United -1st in Group C, above Valencia, Rangers, Bursaspor -Round of 16, defeated Marseille 2-1 on aggregate -Quarter Final, defeated Chelsea 3-1 on aggregate
Form Schalke -Currently 10th in the Bundesliga -Lost 1-0 at home to struggling Kaiserslautern on the weekend -Recently fired Felix Magath and replaced him with Ralf Rangnick -Qualified for the 2011 German DFB Pokal final -Schalke have won every home game in this season’s Champions League
Manchester United -Currently 1st in the Premier League, six points clear of Chelsea -Won 1-0 over in-form Everton on the weekend -Recently had treble hopes ended after FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City -Drawn nine of 17 away games in the Premier League this term
Danger man Schalke Raul Schalke’s experienced Spanish striker has 12 goals in all competitions this term but his record in Europe’s top competition is impressive (5 goals in 10 appearances this campaign) and his experience will be vital.
Manchester United Wayne Rooney United’s star striker has found his groove in the past two months and looms as a key player, particularly if he can help the Red Devils register an away goal.
Team news Schalke -Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is a long-term absentee with a knee injury, along with Christoph Moritz (knee) and Christian Pander (toe). -There is doubt over the availability of Benedikt Howedes, who scored against Inter, due to a stomach strain which saw him miss Monday training. -Boss Ralf Rangnick is hopeful Kyriakos Papadopoulos (calf) and Peer Kluge (abdomen) will be fit.
Manchester United -The Red Devils are definitely without topscorer Dimitar Berbatov due to a groin strain which has kept him out of league action lately. -Midfielder Darren Fletcher is also out injured, along with long-term absentees Owen Hargraves. -John O’Shea has made the trip to Germany despite carrying a knock.
Coaches Ralf Rangnick: “Nothing will be decided tomorrow. We know Manchester are much better organised than Inter, so it will not be as easy for us to score. We have to try to be compact as well. A close result will leave everything open for the return leg in Manchester.”
He added: “Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games and titles at this level, but United will have a very experienced team, much as Inter did. Our team is a bit younger and hopefully hungrier to make up for their lack of experience. Our passion and discipline has helped us against Inter and I hope it will do so again against United.”
Sir Alex Ferguson: “Wayne Rooney’s form has been fantastic these last two months but the most important thing for us is the freshness has come into the team in the last few weeks with players coming back like [Antonio] Valencia, [Rio] Ferdinand, Anderson and Park Ji-Sung.”
He added: “In terms of the quality of the team, you saw it on Saturday again that this is a team that will not give in, there is absolutely no chance this team will ever give in and that’s a great quality. I think the present group have enough experience now in Europe, it is where we should be.”
Sports Pundit prediction; Schalke 04 0-1 Manchester United
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