Champions League: Schalke at Valencia

14 Feb

What an odd season the Royal Blues have had.

The Gelsenkirchen based club sit in a comfortable 10th position with twelve games to go, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Felix Magath’s side got off to a horrific start, but have recovered reasonably well since. Post-break, they have looked resolute but increasingly goal shy, Saturday’s profligate 1-0 victory over Freiburg highlighting the point.  They have no realistic hope of reaching either the Champions League or Europa League next season, unless they somehow go the distance in the former.

Tomorrow the CL returns and Schalke face Valencia at the Mestalla. All the pre-match talk has surrounded Raul, who bagged 12 goals in 24 league fixtures against Spain’s third club. If all goes well, Schalke will be the last team to visit the iconic Mestalla, as Los Che are due to move to their new ground, the Nou Mestalla (Millwall-esque, that), next season.

Valencia are weak at home against Bundesliga opposition, winless in their last six encounters. Going back to the Veltins Arena on level terms would surely be a positive midweek result for Schalke.

Die Knappen‘s fanbase is becoming increasingly frustrated, with a number of near misses over the past five seasons, but progression here could be enough to grant Magath a stay of execution and boost the club’s unstable finances.

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