Champions League Semifinals – Manchester United Vs Schalke 04 – Preview




Champions League

Champions League

When the draws were announced, Alex Ferguson would have heaved a sigh of relief on avoiding Real Madrid and Barcelona in the semifinals. But Ferguson knows it better than anyone else than to be complacent against Schalke, the surprise package of this season’s competition.

Every United fan will remember the glorious victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 final at Camp Nou, but the Red Devils haven’t got the better of a German club in a two legged tie ever. While Bayern avenged their loss last season by beating United in the semis, the Red Devils have also suffered losses to Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and Bayern Leverkusen in 2002. On both the occasions, United were the favourites just like this time, only to suffer heartbreak.

While United beat their English rivals Chelsea to enter the semis, Schalke 04 pulled of a stunning victory over defending champions Inter Milan with a 7-3 scoreline. This is Schalke’s first appearance in the last four of the Champions League and have nothing to lose as they prepare to welcome United at Gelsenkirchen. United have good memories of this venue as beat Benefica in 1967 at the Veltins Arena to become the first English champions of Europe.

While Schalke have a 100 percent home record in this season, United are yet to concede an away goal having won four while they drew once in five away games. The key man for Schalke would be Raul, who has three Champions League medals in his kitty as a Real Madrid player, who scored a goal in each leg against Inter Milan. The other interesting thing would be how Manuel Neuer would handle the strike force of Rooney and Hernandez, who could well be his teammates next season, after he was linked with a move to the English club at the end of the season.

United moved a step closer to the league title with a 1-0 victory against Everton over the weekend and it was Javier Hernandez who stepped up once again when required. The Mexican has been having a dream debut season having netted 19 goals and his partnership with Rooney has been the main element for United doing well so this season. Nemanja Vidic will return back to guard the defence line after being rested for the game against Everton while centre-back Benedikt Howedes, who crashed home the winner in the 2-1 second leg victory over Inter, will return from injury for the hosts.

Probable Lineup:

Schalke 04 (4-4-1-1): Neuer; Uchida, Metzelder, Howedes, Sarpei; Farfan, Papadopoulos, Matip, Baumjohann; Jurado; Raul

Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Sar; O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park; Rooney, Hernandez

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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