Serie A

Schalke v Inter Milan Champions League Preview

Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick says they will be treating their Champions League quarter-final second leg at home to Inter as if it is starting goalless. “It’s half-time now,” he said. “We may be 5-2 up, but the game isn’t over.” Nerazzurri counterpart Leonardo echoed that sentiment – “anything is possible”, he stressed – though if his team are to be beaten he insists they go down fighting.

Ralf Rangnick, Schalke coach
We’ll play for the win and that’s how we want to go into the match. We will start with the actual score in mind, which is 0-0 … Only half of the tie has been played – it’s half-time now, we may be 5-2 up, but the game isn’t over. I said before this tie that Inter are clear favourites and that we feel good in our role as outsiders. We now have to make sure that we put in a similarly intense display to the one in Milan.

Today we will take a look at Inter’s game against Chievo. We know they rested a couple of players and played the same formation they used against us, a 4-3-2-1; that’s how we expect them to line up tomorrow. I don’t believe there will be any big surprises. To me, the only open question is which of the four holding midfielders will be in the three spots.

For us, it’s similar: If everyone’s fit, then it’s all about who will replace [the suspended] Jefferson Farfán? We only made one change in our last game, bringing in Lukas Schmitz for Alexander Baumjohann, because Baumjohann cannot play three games in seven days. When I see that the guys are fit enough, I see no reason to change anything in this so far very successful side.

Leonardo, Inter coach
I wouldn’t say we need a miracle but we know it will be difficult. Who is to say what happened for Schalke at San Siro can’t happen here for us? We have to perform differently that is for sure. Some may say it’s impossible but it’s possible to cancel out a four-goal deficit. Either way, we want to produce a great spectacle.

Things have to go differently from the first leg and only an outstanding performance will be good enough to see us through. The team know what’s required of them. They all have experience of such games: life has its ups and downs and in football anything is possible.

We still have 24 hours until the match – it feels like an eternity. Psychologically, you cannot forget the first leg. Pulling back four goals is anything but normal but we are prepared for it. In the first match we were heavily punished for our mistakes: we know we have to change that. We have nothing to lose.

Team news

While Farfán is suspended, Angelos Charisteas (pulled thigh muscle) and Christoph Metzelder (broken nose) are doubtful. Rangnick said: “Currently there is probably the possibility they could take part.” Klass-Jan Huntelaar has not played since suffering a knee injury on 2 March and Christoph Moritz (knee) and Christian Pander (toe) were last fielded on 29 January.

Leonardo welcomes Lúcio back from suspension, the Brazilian international likely to come in for Cristian Chivu who is banned following his first-leg dismissal. Another centre-back, Walter Samuel, is a long-term absentee because of a knee injury.

Inter need to score four goals to progress to the semi-finals against Manchester United. Schalke is not the greatest defensive team in history and Inter should create enough chances to score four of five goals. The question is how many of them will they take.

Also, in order for Inter to progress they will need to be really strong defensively, something they have not been recently. I can see Inter winning tonight, but Schalke progressing in the tournament.

Score: Schalke 2 Inter 3

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