Monday, 25 April 2011

UEFA Champions League : complete Story Of Schalke vs Man United

England and Germany collide again when Manchester United take on Schalke in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Catch all the latest with!

Dimitar Berbatov will miss Manchester United's Champions League semi-final against Schalke on Tuesday.

The Bulgarian missed Saturday's Barclays Premier League win over Everton with a slight groin strain.

And whilst Sir Alex Ferguson claimed after the 1-0 triumph that he had no fitness concerns ahead of the first-leg encounter at the Veltins-Arena, Berbatov did not check in with the rest of his team-mates at Manchester Airport on Monday morning.

Although the former Tottenham man had been unlikely to start anyway, his absence is a blow as it denies Ferguson a useful attacking weapon on the bench should the match not go as planned.

He does have the in-form Javier Hernandez, who bagged his 19th goal of the season at the weekend, and Wayne Rooney, who will not remember his last trip to Gelsenkirchen with any fondness as he was sent off during England's World Cup quarter-final defeat to Portugal in 2006.

Although one of their most famous nights came against German opposition in 1999, United have not beaten a Bundesliga side in a two-legged encounter since the European Cup was revamped into the Champions League in 1992.

Bayern Munich put paid to their hopes at the quarter-final stage last year and 1997 and 2002 brought semi-final despair at the hands of Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen respectively.

United are overwhelming favourites to book a blockbuster Wembley confrontation with either Real Madrid or Barcelona on May 28.

A shadow Schalke side lost on home soil to Kaiserslautern at the weekend to strengthen claims Ferguson's men will make it through with something to spare.

If United have been something of an enigma this term, battling to within seven points of a record 19th title despite rarely hitting the heights of previous seasons, Schalke's form is even more puzzling.

Firmly entrenched in mid-table after a disappointing Bundesliga campaign, Schalke have reserved all their best performances for Europe.

They are unbeaten since losing to Lyon in their opening group game and after dismissing a Valencia outfit that gave United two tough matches earlier this season, Schalke then slammed seven goals past holders Inter Milan at the quarter-final stage, with veteran Spain striker Raul finding the net in both legs.

Schalke vs Man United Preview

Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping to break new ground by steering Manchester United past German opposition in a two-legged European encounter.

After four previous failures as United boss, Ferguson is hoping to make it fourth time lucky in the Champions League semi-final against Schalke.

Dimitar Berbatov (groin) and Darren Fletcher (virus) are out, otherwise the Red Devils manager is selecting from strength.

Defender Benedikt Howedes will be given every possible chance to recover from his stomach strain.

The Germany Under-21 star was a goalscorer in Schalke's quarter-final win over Inter Milan and coach Ralf Rangnick knows he will have to reshape his entire starting line-up if Howedes does not make it.

There was better news about Kyriakos Papadopoulous and Peer Kluge, who have both recovered from minor problems and will be available for the first-leg encounter at the Veltins-Arena.

"Schalke hungry to beat Man United"

Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick is convinced his side's relative inexperience will make them more hungry to beat Manchester United.
Schalke face up to a huge task in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final with United.
In contrast to United, who will be featuring in their 12th last four clash, and hoping to make the final for a fifth time, Schalke have never graced this stage of club football's most prestigious tournament.
Of Rangnick's squad, only legendary Spain striker Raul knows what he is going into.
However, rather than view the position as a negative for his team's chances of reaching Wembley on May 28, the Schalke coach views it as a pretty significant positive.
"Sir Alex Ferguson has more experience and has won many more trophies," he observed.
"Manchester United do have a very experienced team, on average three to four years older than ours.
"But maybe the fact we are more inexperienced means we are a really hungry team with more passion.
"It is something that makes this match all the more alluring for our team.
"Our players are in this position for the first time, with the exception of Raul, who might be there for the last time.
"We have to show what we can achieve and get the best out of it, so hopefully, this will be a benefit for us."
The game has particular significance for Rangnick as it takes the 52-year-old back to his youth.
As a student in the late 1970s, he spent a year at Sussex University, regularly travelling to London to fulfil a lifelong passion with the beautiful game, either by watching Tottenham or Arsenal.
Occasionally, he would venture to the Goldstone Ground, which at the time housed a Brighton side good enough to hold their own in England's highest league.
"They were some of the best years of my life," Rangnick has said in the past.
"I was there before Hillsborough," he recalled today.
"It was a wonderful feeling to see the support for everything.
"I didn't quite understand how hooliganism came to light in England. But I did see the great way the police dealt with this problem and how the stadiums were built.
"I am looking forward to the atmosphere, both tomorrow and at Old Trafford. In England you don't get situations where the fans whistle in displeasure. It is real support."
However, Rangnick is not so starstruck as to be deflected from a path that leads to the Champions League final.
Since losing their opening group game to Lyon in September, Schalke remain unbeaten, winning every game on home soil.
The stand-out result was unquestionably the 5-2 destruction of holders Inter Milan at the quarter-final stage, setting up a victory they completed a week later.
Raul contributed in both legs to cement his hero status during an effective debut campaign, after severing that emotional tie with Real Madrid.
"We have to be realistic," said defender Christoph Metzelder.
"We will not score five against Manchester United.
"They are a very disciplined team, who do not let you have the opportunity to score goals. It will be two very tight games."
Nevertheless, the former Germany defender couldn't resist a little dig at United ahead of a game that, globally, plays second fiddle to the other semi-final between La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona.
"Every nation might have its likes and its dislikes but I know we would not have liked to play against Barcelona," he said.

Griffiths: Man United and that comeback

As Manchester United prepare for their Champions League semi-final against Schalke, we rewind to 1999 and one of the English club's finest European nights.
By Ian Griffiths Senior Editor
When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham scored for Manchester United in the dying moments of a dramatic 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich, their goals sealed what - up until then - was the greatest comeback Europe's premier club competition had ever seen.
Trailing 1-0 and seemingly unable to penetrate a resolute German defence, United had summoned the heroic duo from the bench in an attempt to salvage something from a final that was slowly but surely slipping away from them.
What happened next is the stuff of legends, the Red Devils' eventual 2-1 success a memorable part of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble they achieved during what proved to be a sensational season for everyone connected with Sir Alex Ferguson's talented outfit.
Having already sealed two of their three trophies - the Premier League and the FA Cup - United entered the May 26 clash at Barcelona's Camp Nou Stadium in high spirits, a buoyant mood no doubt enhanced by memories of a sensational 'come from behind' triumph that accounted for Juventus in the semi-finals. Within six minutes however, they were behind.
Giant centre-back Jaap Stam crashed into Bayern's Carsten Jancker on the edge of United's box to concede an early free-kick. In a flash, the Dutchman's clumsiness was punished by Mario Basler who stepped up to fire home past a flatfooted Peter Schmeichel from 25 yards.
Stung into action, the 1968 European Cup winners fought back through Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole who both came close to restoring parity in a half which saw Bayern defending resolutely whilst threatening - particularly through the ever dangerous Alexander Zickler - to cause chaos on the counter-attack.
Shortly after the break, Stam's defensive partner Ronnie Johnson headed over before United's best chance of the game came and went, Jesper Blomqvist firing wide following a delightful pass from Welshman Ryan Giggs. Dreams of a treble were fading fast.
Bayern, still glowing from a comprehensive Bundesliga triumph, responded in dramatic fashion and only the woodwork prevented them from doubling their advantage when Basler's long-range attempt agonisingly clipped Schmeichel's bar.
The Bavarians pressed again, this time Steffan Effenberg brought the best out of Schmeichel thanks to a fine shot that United's keeper turned away superbly. The Danish stopper was helpless moments later as Mehmet Scholl's delightful chipped effort thumped against the upright.
The Munich charge was relentless but worse was to come for Ottmar Hitzfeld's men. With only five minutes remaining, Jancker's spectacular bicycle kick hit the frame of the goal to compound their agony. What could have been.
And then the drama. First, and with the match drifting into three minutes of stoppage time, a David Beckham corner was cleared to Giggs who lofted the ball into Bayern's penalty area. Sheringham, lurking menacingly, pounced to steer home a neat right foot shot past a helpless Oliver Kahn. The equaliser.
Seizing the initiative and roared on by their travelling support, United gained another corner with only seconds remaining.
Yet again, Beckham's delivery was pinpoint. Sheringham soared above Bayern's woefully static defenders and flicked the ball on to Solskjaer. The Norwegian marksman poked his foot at the ball and beat both Kahn and the two defenders stationed on the line. How the Mancunians celebrated.
Against all the odds, the giants of English football had bagged their second continental crown and secured an unbelievable treble. As Bayern's players lay distraught on the pitch, United were left to parade the Champions League trophy and reflect on what had been quite an amazing game.
"This is the best moment of my life. I'm really proud of my players, proud of my heritage and my family for what they have given me," a jubilant Ferguson said after the drama had subsided.
"I simply don't know where to begin but you can't deny people with this spirit we have and that's why we have won this trophy.
"Football is such a funny game. It's a fairytale really."
How true Sir Alex, how true.
Bayern Munich 1 - 2 Manchester United - May 26, 1999
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Bayern Munich: Kahn (captain), Linke, Matthaus (Fink), Kuffour, Babbel, Jeremies, Effenberg, Tarnat, Basler (Salihamidzic), Jancker, Zickler (Scholl).
Scorer: Basler (6)
Manchester United: Schmeichel (captain), G.Neville, Johnsen, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Butt, Giggs, Blomqvist (Sheringham), Cole (Solskjaer), Yorke.
Scorers: Sheringham (90+1), Solskjaer (90+3)
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