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FC Schalke 04 pair Julian Draxler and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were cautiously optimistic about the German side's UEFA Champions League prospects after they came from behind to earn an impressive 1-1 draw at Galatasaray AŞ.
The gloom that has hung over the Gelsenkirchen outfit throughout their run of one win in 13 games visibly lifted as the round of 16 first leg wore on in Istanbul. Indeed, the visitors' chief sources of regret at full time were for the misplaced pass that saw them fall behind and the missed chances that denied them victory. Confidence is returning and, Draxler said in English – at his insistence – as thoughtful and compact as his performance on the pitch: "We can look forward to the second leg."
Julian Draxler, Schalke midfielder
I think we did well here in Istanbul. It's always a difficult place to come, with the atmosphere and the stadium – it's unbelievable. We did well as a team, got a good result and we can look forward to the second leg.
[Galatasaray's goal] came from a stupid mistake by us in defence. I was a bit shocked but we came together as a team and Jermaine Jones made it 1-1 – it was important to get back into the game. It came at a good time, on 45 minutes, and we have to be happy with the result.
It means we can wait a little bit at home, because Galatasaray have to score. We have to look to punish them on the counterattack because we can't just defend; we have to try and score. It will be difficult but we can do it.
We have to get through the second leg; after that, you never know. Two years ago we made it through to the semi-finals.
The Champions League is different – all footballers want to play in games like these.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke forward
A 1-1 draw is a good result for Schalke. It was a good performance by us. Galatasaray were playing on the counterattack, while we took a grip on the game and applied a lot of forward pressure.
It is just a pity we couldn't score another goal. The chances were there, we just didn't take them. We could have left as the winning team.
But tonight's game gave us a lot of confidence for the return. We arrived here without any tentativeness, immediately taking the initiative. It was a pity we fell behind, especially from a mistake on our part – a sideways pass being intercepted.
It was the same with Galatasaray's other big chance in the opening stages, when Hamit Altıntop hit the crossbar. That too happened after a defensive error. We'll have to work on that, but all in all it was a positive result for Schalke.
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