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Schalke's Stevens full of Montpellier admiration

Published: Tuesday 2 October 2012, 19.13CET
FC Schalke 04 boss Huub Stevens is not fooled by Montpellier Hérault SC's indifferent start to the campaign, saying the competition debutants should not be "underestimated" in Group B.
by Steffen Potter
from Arena AufSchalke
Schalke's Stevens full of Montpellier admiration
Schalke go through their paces on the eve of the Group B match ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 2 October 2012, 19.13CET

Schalke's Stevens full of Montpellier admiration

FC Schalke 04 boss Huub Stevens is not fooled by Montpellier Hérault SC's indifferent start to the campaign, saying the competition debutants should not be "underestimated" in Group B.

FC Schalke 04 coach Huub Stevens will warn his players not to underestimate Montpellier Hérault SC in their second outing in UEFA Champions League Group B. Stevens was keen to talk up the quality of the French side, who lost on matchday one and have stuttered so far this season in the defence of their Ligue 1 crown, saying: "Whether or not they have stars in their ranks it doesn't really matter – they have some very good players."

Schalke
Coach Huub Stevens
It is the first home match [in the group] and the boys deserve this. I hope that they will give the right answer tomorrow [to Friday's 2-2 Bundesliga draw at Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895].

Montpellier showed last season that a cohesive unit can go a long way. They surely should not be underestimated: you don't become French champions for nothing. Whether or not they have stars in their ranks it doesn't really matter – they have some very good players. They have really good attacking players, and the fact that people in Germany don't always know them is par for the course.

Right from the beginning I said that Arsenal are the group favourites and that Olympiacos, Montpellier and Schalke will battle for second place. That's still the case.

[Asked if he can reveal anything about Schalke's lineup] Yes, I can. We will start the match with 11 players and one of them will wear gloves. I hope it will be only one, because it is not that cold yet so the others don't need them.

Weekend result
Friday: Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895 2–2 Schalke (Schahin 48, 77; Huntelaar 13, Matip 20)
Unnerstall; Höwedes, Papadopoulos, Matip, Fuchs; Jones (Höger 73), Neustädter; Afellay, Holtby, Barnetta (Draxler 79); Huntelaar (Obasi 80).

• Schalke moved up to fourth in the Bundesliga with a point against Düsseldorf, who had hitherto not conceded in the league this season.

Team news
• Jemaine Jones returned from an ankle injury against Düsseldorf but suffered a similar problem in training on Monday, and he and Jefferson Farfán (also ankle) are both doubtful. Chinedu Obasi is available after making his first appearance of the campaign on Friday.

Montpellier
Coach René Girard
Against Arsenal, we had to get used to playing in the Champions League and we were up against the favourites in the group. Now we are playing the second favourites in Schalke. The win against Nancy [on Saturday] has given us a boost. We have the desire to get a result here at Schalke.

To go through we have to win our home matches. We failed to do so against Arsenal and now we have to win points away from home. A point would be OK here, but why shouldn't it be three?

It was a very special experience to play in the Champions League. You can put in a good performance in the French league, but the Champions League is a different dimension. I don't want to claim that we are on a par with the big teams in Europe, but we have seen that we can keep up and that should give us a certain level of composure.

Weekend result
Saturday: AS Nancy-Lorraine 0-2 Montpellier (Belhanda 66, Camara 90)
Jourdren; Bocaly, Yanga-Mbiwa, Hilton, Saihi; Estrada, Jeunechamp (Stambouli 52), Aït-Fana (Herrera 80), Belhanda, Cabella, Camara.

• Montpellier recorded their second Ligue 1 win of the season thanks to goals in either half from Younes Belhanda and Souleymane Camara.

Match fact
Schalke have won all three of their home games against French opponents but lost both away. They beat Nancy 1-0 in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first round – although they suffered a 3-1 defeat in the return in France – and saw off Paris Saint-Germain FC 3-1 in the group stage of the 2008/09 competition.

Last updated: 02/10/12 20.56CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000347/match=2009506/prematch/preview/index.html#schalkes+stevens+full+montpellier+admiration

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