• FT

    D Zagreb




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    FC Basel


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    Schalke 04


    PAOK Salonik


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    Legia Warsaw



Veltins Arena, Germany

Referee: Stephane Lannoy | Attendance: 52000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Schalke 04

  • Jefferson Farfan 32'

1 - 1


PAOK Salonika

  • Miroslav Stoch 73'

Schalke 04 v PAOK Salonika: Preview

Schalke coach Jens Keller is unfazed by the pressure on his side on the eve of their make-or-break Champions League play-off first-leg against Greek outfit PAOK Thessaloniki.

A crushing 4-0 defeat to Wolfsburg last weekend has left the Royal Blues languishing at the wrong end of the Bundesliga, having conceded seven goals in their first two matches.

They host PAOK on Wednesday night aware that another defeat would jeopardise their entire season, but Keller says that is just part of everyday life in Gelsenkirchen.

``We had all hoped that things would have gone well so far, but that's not the case so of course we are under pressure,'' Keller said.

``But you always have great pressure at Schalke and we've shown in the past that we can cope very well with it.

``We responded on the final day of last season against Freiburg and so I'm optimistic that we'll be able to cope with this situation.''

PAOK arrive in Gelsenkirchen with nothing to lose after being reinstated in the competition following Metalist Kharkiv's disqualification from European competition this season following a match-fixing inquiry.

But Keller does not want his side to feel any additional pressure.

``Schalke must not be scared,'' he said. ``We play in one of the best leagues in the world and came fourth last year and we want to reach our goal of the group phase.

``PAOK are a good side, but we know our own qualities and when you see how we have played in recent years, then we've got to be optimistic we will make it.''

Extra spice is given to the game by the return of Huub Stevens to the Arena AufSchalke less than a year after the man who was voted the club's best ever coach was relieved of his duties.

``Huub was the coach of the century here and the fans and club are looking forward to seeing him,'' said Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes.

``But this is not Schalke against Huub Stevens but Schalke against PAOK FC.

``We've got to try to win it. Even though it will be nice to see him again, we've got to concentrate on our game and ensure we keep our focus.''

Stevens is also looking forward to his return to Gelsenkirchen, although he has a job to do with his new club.

He claims that job is practically impossible, but that they will nevertheless give it a go having been given a second chance in the competition.

``Of course I'm pleased to be back at Schalke after such a short time away,'' he said.

``I'll see so many friends I worked with and was successful with here, but we've got to be very clear about it - we are the rank outsiders because I never thought it possible we would be here.

``But we are here and we've got to try to give it our best.''

Schalke will be without injured striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and midfielder Sead Kolasinac.

``Schalke are Schalke and I'm sure they will have good replacements for each position,'' Stevens added.


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