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Holtby thinking big after Schalke stay unbeaten

Published: Wednesday 5 December 2012, 1.13CET
Delighted that FC Schalke 04 finished Group B unbeaten and on top of the pile, Lewis Holtby is looking forward to the 20 December draw and a possible encounter with Real Madrid CF.
by Ian Holyman
from La Mosson
Published: Wednesday 5 December 2012, 1.13CET

Holtby thinking big after Schalke stay unbeaten

Delighted that FC Schalke 04 finished Group B unbeaten and on top of the pile, Lewis Holtby is looking forward to the 20 December draw and a possible encounter with Real Madrid CF.

Lewis Holtby told UEFA.com he is dreaming of playing at Real Madrid CF's celebrated Santiago Bernabéu after helping FC Schalke 04 clinch top spot in UEFA Champions League Group B.

The midfielder highlighted the display of goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand against Montpellier Hérault SC in sending his side into the last 16 unbeaten. The Germany Under-21 captain then turned his thoughts to the knockout stages, where team-mate Teemu Pukki picked out Madrid as one of "the most difficult" clubs to be paired with.

With their European adventure over, Montpellier reflected on yet another promising performance which brought scant reward, centre-back Hilton insisting the Ligue 1 outfit "deserved better" than to finish bottom of the section.

Lewis Holtby, Schalke midfielder
It's a little bit of a lottery who we get now, but we're happy to be through. We were confident we'd get through, but to go through as group winners and unbeaten too, that's special for us. It gives us confidence and we'll take that into the league. It should take us forward. We've had a tough two to three weeks in the Bundesliga. We started well and we're still near the top of the table. We'll try to win our last two games before Christmas. You always go through bad situations as sportsmen and we have to go through that now.

We've got three important games coming up and we have to be focused. Credit to Timo [Hildebrand], he had a good game. In the first half we played really well and had some good chances. We fought well, went ahead and unfortunately conceded soon after. We showed great spirit again. I don't really care who we play now. It's the Champions League. If you want to win it, you have to beat everybody. We know it's going to be difficult, but why not, at 22 years old, play at the Santiago Bernabéu? That would be a dream. I'll just sit back when the draw comes up, happy to be there in the last 16.

Teemu Pukki, Schalke forward
We wanted to win the group, that's what we got out of the game. We can be happy about the outcome, but the performance was not so good. It was more difficult than we expected. The pitch was tricky too, not the easiest to play football on, but 1-1 away from home is a good result. It'll help us in the future that we have gone through the group stage unbeaten.

We started the Bundesliga well, although recent games haven't been as good, but if we get a couple of wins before Christmas we'll be in a good position in the league. The big teams in Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona, are the most difficult opponents in the knockout stages, but I'll be keeping an eye out for who makes it through. I'm not worried, though.

Hilton, Montpellier defender
We deserved to win. It's a shame that once again we have shown that we could have done something in the Champions League. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to do so. In the second half we had two or three chances to win. It's the kind of performance which we can draw on for the rest of the season. We can harbour regrets given the matches we've had: here against Arsenal and Olympiacos, at Schalke ... But that's football at the very highest level.

We thought we could have gone on, but unfortunately not. We lacked experience and were up against sides who are used to playing high-level competitions like the Champions League. That's what has made the difference. We've improved with every game we've played. The only match that we really messed up was at Olympiacos, where they totally deserved the win. In the other games we deserved better results.

Last updated: 05/12/12 11.40CET

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