After firing his side into the last 16 with his maiden UEFA Champions League goal, FC Schalke 04's unlikely match winner Christian Fuchs set his sights on securing top spot in Group B.
The Austria full-back struck 13 minutes from time to beat Olympiacos FC 1-0 and ensure Huub Stevens's men will feature in the knockout stage, a fact Benedikt Höwedes said had produced "enormous" relief in the Royal Blues' squad.
Disappointment was the overriding emotion emanating from the visitors, with François Modesto and Paulo Machado telling UEFA.com the matchday one meeting with Schalke in Piraeus had cost their team dear.
Christian Fuchs, Schalke defender
I'm really happy that I could help the team win this game. I was aiming for the far corner, and that it worked out is great. I knew that it was going to be difficult to stop, especially as the ball was bouncing. Obviously it was a great feeling for me, because it was my first Champions League goal. Today's game was much harder than the first game in Piraeus. We're all relieved that we won and qualified for the last 16. Now our aim must be to finish top of the group. That's going to be a tough task, but we've achieved our minimum objective. We have a good side and we can still achieve a lot in this Champions League campaign.
Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke defender
The relief is enormous. We did it the hard way. We had several chances to score and weren't able to use them, but we managed to get the decisive goal and so we can be proud. We're still in the Champions League and put in a good performance. Now we can clinch top spot in the group in the last game.
François Modesto, Olympiacos defender
We played well in the first half. We pressed them well and had two or three opportunities to try and score. It was more difficult in the second half, Schalke put us under more pressure. It's a shame that we conceded a goal from 30 metres some ten minutes from the end when we could have picked up a draw and then had everything to play for against Arsenal.
But we've already sewn up our place in the Europa League, that's important. In the first half, we could have used our counterattacks better, but it's always difficult to play away from home, especially in the Champions League against a good team. We have some regrets over the first game we played against Schalke.
Right now, you can see that there's not a lot of difference between the two sides. In the first game, we lacked a little experience perhaps. We're going to try and finish well at home to Arsenal – it's important to win – and then focus on the Europa League. It's two years now that we've been knocked out late on in the group stage. Next year, we need to continue like this and help the club grow.
Paulo Machado, Olympiacos midfielder
Of course, we're really disappointed. We had the chance to qualify for the next round, but we've lost and now we're in the Europa League. We defended well. We all got behind the ball and stayed compact. Those were our tactics, but we lost the game. We can have some regrets, notably from the first match that we played at home.
We had some difficulties within the team then, a lot of players were coming in and out of the side. Now you can feel that we're a real team, and that is what has made the difference in the end. We're going out of the Champions League with our heads held high. We're going to play in the Europa League now and it would be great for Olympiacos if we manage to reach the final.
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