Vítor Baía cannot wait to relive "fantastic memories" after the first knockout round draw took FC Porto back to FC Schalke 04, the scene of their 2004 final triumph.
Vítor Baía said he could not wait to relive some "fantastic memories" after the draw for the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League paired FC Porto with FC Schalke 04.
Baía, who is now a Porto director, was part of the side that won the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League final at the Arena AufSchalke in Gelsenkirchen. And the former goalkeeper pronounced himself happy with the Portuguese team's opponents in the last 16: "The draw is always going to be tricky at this stage because all the teams are top-class sides. I am happy because Porto will return to a venue that I know very well and where I enjoyed such fantastic memories when I became a European champion."
However, the 38-year-old sounded a note of caution ahead of their meeting with the Bundesliga club who have never lost to Portuguese opposition in European competition: "Schalke are strong in attack and well-organised in defence, shown by the fact they only conceded four goals in the group phase. We have two months to prepare for the match and have faith in ourselves. So, although we face this tie with optimism, we know that it will be a tough test."
Ball boy view
Porto have a mixed record in Germany, winning three of the eleven games they have played there. However, the relevance of their victory in Gelsenkirchen three and a half years ago has not been lost on the Schalke players, with some having been in attendance for the final itself. "I saw Porto as a ball boy in the Champions League final," said goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. "I am glad we have drawn them but they must not be underestimated. Porto finished above Liverpool in their group but we have a good chance to progress to the next round."
It will be Schalke's first appearance in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage at their third attempt, and striker Gerald Asamoah added: "Porto are an experienced side and they won the European title in our stadium. We know it will be tough for us but we are confident we can lay the foundations in the home leg to qualify."
Important home leg
Another forward, Kevin Kuranyi, who scored two of his club's five goals as they finished second to Chelsea FC in Group B, said: "It is a very good draw and if we play well and give our all, we have the chance to progress. However, Porto are a class team and are undefeated in their league – we will need to be in a strong position after our home match."