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14.03.2008 13:01

Schalke 04 making history


FC Barcelona will meet Schalke 04 in the quarter finals of the Champions League after the draw was made on Friday as the Bundesliga outfit made history by reaching this stage of the competition for the first time.

The only German side remaining in the tounrament, Schalke came out of the hat to be paired with the Blaugrana. Lying in fifth place in the table, Mirko Slomka's side cannot realistically win the title as they are 12 points behind leaders Bayern Munich, but are chasing a top three finish along with the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburg and Werder Bremen to ensure they make another appearance in the Champions League next term.

Aiming for top three

gelsenkirchen.jpgAfter 23 games of the German season, Schalke are no longer chasing the title as they have won ten matches, drawn eight and lost five. That inconsistency has meant that they have been unable to repeat their strong showing of last term, when they finished just two points behind eventual champions VfB Stuttgart.

Further than ever

neuerer.jpgIn the group phase, Schalke finished second behind Chelsea in a group that also contained Rosenborg and Valencia. In those six matches, the German outfit won two, drew two and lost two. That saw them move through to the the next stage of the event.

In the first knockout round, Schalke defeated Porto 1-0 in Germany, but then opted to try and defend that lead in the second leg in Portugal and ended up conceding one goal before the end of 90 minutes. With no more scoring in extra time the tie went down to penalties and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was the club's hero as he won them the spot-kick lottery.

Kuranyi the key man

Kevin Kuranyi is one key player that Barça will have to watch as he has scored three times in the Champions League and has eight Bundesliga goals to his name this term. Gerald Asamoah and Halil Altintop are two other stars of Schalke's forward line.

At the back, Neuer is very highly rated and is said to be being watched by several of Europe's elite clubs. In front of him are players such as Marcelo Bordon, Mladen Krstajic and Rafinha in defence. In midfield Fabian Ernst and Jermaine Jones stand out.
Schalke 04 making history
First time
Barça and Schalke have never met in official competition before, but they will be the second German side that Frank Rijkaard's team have played this term. In the group stage, the Blaugrana met VfB Stuttgart and beat them 2-0 in Germany and 3-1 in Barcelona.

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