Inter have already met two Bundesliga teams in the Champions League this season; Werder Bremen in the group stage and Bayern Munich in the round of 16. However, Sneijder believes the Schalke tie will be totally different.
“It’s not like we were happy [after the draw] that it was German opponents again – no, because they are tough. However, we have to believe in ourselves, we have a good feeling.”
Home advantage in the first leg is nothing new for Inter. Not only was the first game against Bayern at San Siro; the Nerazzurri had the same pattern in all their knockout rounds last term.
“Last season we started every tie at home,” Sneijder recalled. “We started against Chelsea at home. We started against CSKA at home. Barcelona at home. It’s a good omen for us.”
Mourinho, the coach who oversaw Inter’s 2010 triumph, was also happy with the win over Bayern Munich and sent Inter president Massimo Moratti a congratulatory text.
“I don’t know if he did it with all the players, but he sent me a message as well,” Sneijder revealed. “Of course it’s nice to receive a message from Mourinho. He’s still one of us.”
Mourinho’s successor Rafael Benítez gave way to Leonardo in December and Inter have found their old form since the new year.
“Of course something has changed,” Sneijder said. “I would be lying if I said no. It seems like Leonardo is one of us. He is not Italian, but he has been here for many years and he knows the culture. We are very happy with him and I suppose he is very happy with us. I think we are playing the same way as last year, but now the last two months are the most important. Here you can win prizes so we don’t have to think about playing nicely, we have to win our games. We are still in the race to reach the final and win it. We have to believe like we did last year.”