BARCELONA - Schalke 04 may have former
Real Madrid goal poachers Raul and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in their
ranks but it is the German team's never-say-die attitude that
sets them apart, according to Valencia defender Ricardo Costa.
Costa knows Tuesday's Champions League opponents well,
having moved to Spain from VfL Wolfsburg where he played under
Felix Magath who is now coach of Schalke.
The Portuguese told a news conference that he had given
Valencia coach Unai Emery a few tips for the last-16, first leg
match at the Mestalla.
"Raul, together with Huntelaar, are the stars of the team,"
Costa said. "Nevertheless the strength of Schalke does not
really lie there but with the work they put in over 90 minutes.
"They never give up, they're strong at set pieces and
counter-attacks and are physically very powerful. We have to
focus, play our football, perform well and rely on a bit of
Valencia have been in fine form in La Liga in recent weeks,
winning six and drawing one of their seven matches since the
start of the year. Saturday's 2-1 comeback win at Atletico
Madrid lifted them above Villarreal into third.
"We have to keep in mind we are playing home and away and
try to score in our stadium and avoid conceding," Costa said.
The two previous meetings between Valencia and Schalke at
the Mestalla ended in draws.
The teams played out a 0-0 stalemate in the 2007 Champions
League group stages and nine years earlier drew 1-1 in a UEFA
Cup quarter-final second leg.
Schalke are confident their 1-0 win over Freiburg in the
Bundesliga on Saturday will raise spirits after a bad start to
"We had an outstanding match and that will hopefully help
against Valencia," said goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Schalke's new signings, Iranian midfielder Ali Karimi,
Greece striker Angelos Charisteas and Anthony Annan, will be
available on Tuesday although the Ghana midfielder could be the
only member of the trio who starts the game.
Magath has been on a charm offensive to win back disgruntled
"The fans have been patient just like the team and that is
evident on the pitch," he said. "We need this union and I hope
it stays that way."
Valencia: 13-Vicente Guaita; 2-Bruno Saltor, 17-Marius
Stankevicius, 20-Ricardo Costa, 28-Jordi Alba; 3-Hedwiges
Maduro, 5-Mehmet Topal; 7-Joaquin, 24-Tino Costa, 19-Pablo
Hernandez; 9-Roberto Soldado
Schalke: 1-Manuel Neuer; 22-Atsuto Uchida, 4-Benedikt
Hoewedes, 21-Christoph Metzelder, 13-Lukas Schmitz; 18-Jose
Manuel Jurado, 40-Anthony Annan, 12-Peer Kluge, 17-Jefferson
Farfan; 7-Raul, 25-Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Referee: Aleksei Nikolaev (Russia)
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