UEFA Champions League
December 4, 2012
Schalke won't ease up
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.0||1.7|
|Goals against *||1.7||0.7|
|Last 5 home||D-L-L||L-W-D-D|
|Last 5 away||L-L-D||D-D-W-W|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Montpellier | Schalke 04|
Although Schalke have already qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League, they have no intention of showing any mercy on a Montpellier side seeking a consolatory first win in the competition.
Schalke have a one-point advantage over Arsenal at the top of Group B with both sides already qualified for the last 16.
The Royal Blues therefore need only to match the Gunners' result against Olympiacos to head into the knockout stage as group winners.
"We desperately want to win the game so that we win the group, and then we are separated from the toughest opponents,'' said captain Benedikt Howedes.
"It's a good feeling already to be through, that enables us to play without any pressure.''
Indeed, the fact only the group victory and not qualification is riding on Tuesday night's match-up at the Stade La Mosson has convinced Schalke coach Huub Stevens to leave Jefferson Farfan, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Ibrahim Afellay behind in Germany.
"(Farfan) took a knock to his ankle and had pain this morning, so I decided not to take him,'' said the boss on the club's website.
"(Papadopoulos) is not so badly injured, he will just rest for a few days, otherwise you can risk missing many games when you are playing every midweek.''
Pride is all that the defending French champions have to play for, but that is still enough to get them motivated, according to their coach Rene Girard.
"It's a Champions League match and it's something to respect,'' he said. "We also need games like this to help us find our best form for the league or for other competitions.
"Schalke are a big club and we managed to get a draw at their place, so it would be very good if we could defy them here too.''
Although Montpellier cannot qualify for the Europa League, they do not want to end their first Champions League campaign on a low, according to their defender Daniel Congre.
"We are sportsmen above all and we play every game to win,'' he said "The aim is to have at least our first Champions League win this season.
"With a bit more experience and maturity, maybe things could have gone differently for us, but now we'll try to end the competition with our heads held high.''
Even though the stakes are low, and Montpellier's Ligue 1 form has not been so impressive this season. Girard is not considering fielding a weakened team.
"We have four games after this to recover for Ajaccio and that's enough,'' he said.