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Schalke next up for confident Athletic

Published: Tuesday 20 March 2012, 22.05CET
FC Schalke 04 boast the UEFA Europa League's top scorer in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as they take on Athletic Club, conquerers of Manchester United FC, for a semi-final place.
Schalke next up for confident Athletic
Raúl González and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar celebrate a Bundesliga goal ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored25
Attempts on target67
Attempts off target81
Fouls committed132
Yellow cards22
Red cards1

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Published: Tuesday 20 March 2012, 22.05CET

Schalke next up for confident Athletic

FC Schalke 04 boast the UEFA Europa League's top scorer in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as they take on Athletic Club, conquerers of Manchester United FC, for a semi-final place.

FC Schalke 04 will hope their last quarter-final meeting with a Spanish side augurs well as they meet Athletic Club, fresh from a UEFA Europa League success against Manchester United FC.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.

• Schalke have played 21 UEFA games against Spanish sides with the record W7 D6 L8 (W5 D2 L3 at home). They have not won in their last six games in Spain since a 3-0 win at RCD Espanyol in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup round of 32.

• Schalke have played Spanish opponents in a previous quarter-final in this competition, beating Valencia CF 3-1 on aggregate en route to winning the 1996/97 UEFA Cup.

• Athletic's six meetings with German sides have ended W1 D1 L4 (W0 D0 L3 in Germany).

Match background
• Schalke are unbeaten at home in Europe this season, recording five wins and a 0-0 draw against AEK Larnaca FC. In that match, on 3 November 2011, they kept their only clean sheet at home in eight European outings.

• Athletic have won three of their five away games in Europe this season, and while they lost the other two, they have scored at least once in all of their UEFA games on the road in 2011/12.

• UEFA Champions League semi-finalists last season, Schalke last played in the quarter-finals in this competition in 2005/06, beating PFC Levski Sofia en route to losing to eventual winners Sevilla FC in the semi-finals. Athletic defender Aitor Ocio played for Sevilla in that tie.

• The Bilbao side have reached the quarter-finals for the first time since the 1976/77 season, when they went on to lose to Juventus on away goals in the two-legged final.

Team facts
• Having scored hat-tricks in the last two rounds, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is this season's top scorer in the UEFA Europa League with nine goals. Of the strikers left in the competition, Falcao is his nearest rival with six goals. The Colombian set a competition record last season, scoring 17 goals as he won the trophy with FC Porto.

• Midfielder Julian Draxler is the only Schalke player to have played in all ten of their UEFA Europa League games since the start of the group stage.

• Schalke are within three goals of conceding their 150th in UEFA club competition games. They have let in an average of one goal a game in their 147 UEFA matches to date.

• Athletic's Fernando Amorebieta and Xabier Castillo turn 27 and 26 respectively on the day of the first leg.

• The Spanish side have conceded more goals since the start of the group stage than any other side left in the competition: 13.

• Athletic are at their most dangerous between the 61st and 75th minutes, when they have scored six of their 18 goals since the start of the group stage.

• Andoni Iraola, Ander Iturraspe, Markel Susaeta and Iker Muniain have featured in all ten of Athletic's games since the start of the group stage.

• Schalke boast Spanish talent in the form of defender Sérgio Escudero (Real Murcia 2008-10), José Manuel Jurado (Real Madrid CF 2005-06, Club Atlético de Madrid 2006-10, RCD Mallorca – on loan – 2008-09) and Raúl González (Real Madrid 1994-2010).

• Schalke defender Christoph Metzelder spent three seasons in Spain with Real Madrid (2007-10), while goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand was at Valencia (2007-08).

• Huntelaar was a team-mate of Metzelder's at Madrid in 2009, when he scored twice against Athletic in a 5-2 away win.

• Huub Stevens replaced Ralf Rangnick as Schalke coach after matchday one. The Dutchman coached Schalke from 1996 to 2002, winning the 1997 UEFA Cup and German Cups in 2001 and 2002. Originally a defender for Fortuna Sittard and PSV Eindhoven, the Dutchman was named by fans as the coach of Schalke's team of the century in 1999.

• Athletic's coach is former Argentina defender Marcelo Bielsa, who briefly led Espanyol in 1998 before taking charge of Argentina (1998–2004) and Chile (2007–11). This is his first season as a player or coach in UEFA club competition.

Final rounds
• The winners will take on Sporting Clube de Portugal or FC Metalist Kharkiv in the semi-finals, playing the second leg at home. Whoever prevails in that tie will be the nominal away side in the final in Bucharest's National Arena on 9 May.

• Athletic have never played in Bucharest, while Schalke won on their only previous visit to the Romanian capital. The German club also played against FC Steaua Bucureşti in this season's group stage, but the away game took place in Cluj-Napoca.

• Schalke have never met any of their potential semi-final opponents.

• Schalke could meet German rivals Hannover 96 in the final, or two Spanish sides with which they are also familiar. Their four European games against Atlético ended W1 D1 L2, while their six matches against Valencia ended W2 D3 L1.

• There was an all-German UEFA Cup final in 1979/80, when Eintracht Frankfurt got the better of VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach on away goals.

• Athletic's only previous meeting with Sporting ended in a 4-2 aggregate defeat in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup third round.

• Athletic have never met any of their potential final opponents in UEFA competition, though they have seen plenty of Atlético and Valencia in the Spanish League.

• There was an all-Spanish UEFA Cup final in 2006/07, when Sevilla beat Espanyol on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Competition statistics
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here:

Last updated: 19/04/12 21.09CET