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Hiddink ponders Schalke selection

Published: Tuesday 13 September 2005, 17.24CET
PSV Eindhoven coach Guus Hiddink will be forced to make changes when last season's semi-finalists welcome FC Schalke 04 for their opening Group E fixture.
by Derek Brookman
from Eindhoven

Tournament statistics

PSVSchalke

Goals scored4
 
12
Attempts on target29
 
39
Attempts off target29
 
49
Corners23
 
29
Offsides19
 
15
Fouls committed168
 
113
Yellow cards11
 
14
Red cards2
 
0

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Published: Tuesday 13 September 2005, 17.24CET

Hiddink ponders Schalke selection

PSV Eindhoven coach Guus Hiddink will be forced to make changes when last season's semi-finalists welcome FC Schalke 04 for their opening Group E fixture.

PSV Eindhoven coach Guus Hiddink will be forced to make changes when his side take on FC Schalke 04 in their opening UEFA Champions League Group E fixture on Tuesday.

Alex injury
A knee injury sustained at the weekend by defender Alex, one of the stars of PSV's run to the 2004/05 semi-finals, is a major blow to the Dutch champions. "He took a nasty knock, although it's not as bad as we first feared," said Hiddink. "The cartilage and ligaments are still intact. However, it is too early to say when he will be fit again."

Ineligible signings
A further reshuffle will be required for the match at the Philips stadium because recent signings Michael Ball and Arouna Koné - who scored the only goal of Saturday's 1-0 home win against FC Utrecht - are ineligible. These disruptions are particularly unwelcome given Hiddink has lost several key members of last year's team, namely Mark van Bommel, Johann Vogel, Ji-Sung Park, Young-Pyo Lee and Wilfred Bouma. On the plus side, defender Michael Reiziger is clear to play after leaving Middlesbrough FC and can call on the experience of 80 previous matches in European competition.

'Strong team'
Hiddink is under no illusions about the challenge facing his side, who also play AC Milan - who beat them in dramatic circumstances last season - and Fenerbahçe SK in the section. "This is a very difficult group, with all the teams capable of taking points off each other," he said. "Schalke have proved themselves to be one of the top teams in Germany over the last few years. They have a couple of very talented forwards, good attacking midfielders and solid defenders. All in all they are a strong team."

Vennegoor of Hesselink unleashed
Although the PSV selection has not been finalised, it seems certain that Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink will start up front. "Jan has proved himself at European level on a number of occasions, and can do so again," said Hiddink. "I don't want to alter things too much. Obviously I have to make changes, but we have to remain faithful to our own style. We won't sit back, that's not the way we play. We have to concentrate on our strengths. After all, we want to reach the second round as we enjoyed the experience last year."

Dynamic and disciplined
Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick regards PSV as a dynamic and disciplined side. "You could see that against Utrecht. They switched players between the left and right flanks without upsetting the balance." He also praised PSV's performances in last year's competition, saying the Dutch club outplayed AC Milan over the two semi-final legs.

Quietly confident
However, Rangnick remained quietly confident. "Of course we can win if we play well," he said. "But it is important not to fall behind." He identified Lincoln, his Brazilian playmaker, as someone who could make the difference but stressed that his team had quality in other departments as well. Visiting captain Ebbe Sand added that he had been ill during Saturday's 1-1 Bundesliga draw at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, but was now fit and ready for PSV.

Last updated: 13/09/05 21.55CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2005/matches/round=2201/match=1100259/prematch/preview/index.html#hiddink+ponders+schalke+selection

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