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Agüero geared to overtake Schalke

Sergio Agüero predicts that Club Atlético de Madrid will overturn a 1-0 deficit against FC Schalke 04: "We're going to be a UEFA Champions League team," he said.

Sergio Agüero is aiming for more success against Schalke
Sergio Agüero is aiming for more success against Schalke ©Getty Images

Club Atlético de Madrid's Sergio Agüero predicts his team will overcome a 1-0 deficit against FC Schalke 04 and advance to the UEFA Champions League group stage, saying simply: "Our fans have to be calm and confident because, come Thursday, we're going to be a Champions League team."

Olympic glory
Agüero missed the third qualifying round first leg at the Arena AufSchalke – where Christian Pander's free-kick gave the German side the narrowest of leads to defend at the Vicente Calderón – but having returned from the Beijing Olympics with a gold medal, the Argentina forward is in winning mood. "I feel good, I've had time to rest and get used to the rhythm of the team," the 20-year-old said. "We know we're going into the game a goal down but we can overturn their lead if we play our football. We are all fully committed to the cause and hopefully we're going to see lots of goals that will take us through."

Scoring threat
Atlético will again be without midfielder Thiago Motta who is recovering from a knee injury, yet Agüero insists the attacking options available to coach Javier Aguirre will worry the visitors. "We have so many offensive players that Schalke will have to be on their guard because anyone can score," he said. With Atlético attempting to reach the group stage for the first time since 1996/97, the No10 added: "I want to ask the fans to cheer us from the very first minute because they form an important part of our team. Their support will go a long way to helping us achieve our objective. Once we step up to the group stage, Atlético will be face to face with the best – it's where we want to be. Winning will bring us a lot of respect."

'Super starting position'
Agüero may be dreaming of feasting at European football's top table, but standing in Atlético's way are a Schalke team full of confidence. Defender Pander, the match-winner two weeks ago, said: "We have a super starting position. Our squad are strong enough and our ambition has to be to advance." While Atlético are shorn of defender Antonio López, sent off in Gelsenkirchen for two yellow cards, Schalke hope to welcome back summer signing Jefferson Farfán, who has travelled to Madrid despite a shoulder injury suffered in the first leg. Jermaine Jones and Ivan Rakitić should also be fit.

'Capable of scoring'
Brazilian defender Rafinha is another player back from the Olympics with a medal, in his case a bronze, and could bolster the Schalke back line – although general manager Andreas Müller says the Bundesliga side are not going to Spain solely to protect their advantage. "We are always capable of scoring," said Müller, whose team may press for an early goal that would effectively settle the tie.