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Magath urges Schalke to rise to Benfica occasion

After losing on Matchday 1, Felix Magath believes his FC Schalke 04 side are gearing up for their "most important" Group B assignment when SL Benfica come calling on Wednesday.

Magath urges Schalke to rise to Benfica occasion
Magath urges Schalke to rise to Benfica occasion ©UEFA.com

After losing 1-0 at Olympique Lyonnais on Matchday 1, Felix Magath believes FC Schalke 04 are going into their "most important" Group B assignment when SL Benfica, 2-0 home victors against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC a fortnight ago, come calling.

Felix Magath, Schalke coach
Benfica have a great strike force which is capable of scoring away from home. That is their strength, and that is why we have to stop them playing their football, seize the initiative and play the game in their half. I still think we have a good chance of achieving our goal of reaching the next round.

We lost away against the group favourites but it would help our cause considerably to leave the stadium with a win tomorrow. This would give us a boost for the following home match − this is why the game against Benfica is the most important one [in the group]. Of course, the pressure on us has increased after that defeat; this match has to be won.

Jorge Jesus, Benfica coach
We are meeting a strong team; I need only mention three players in [José Manuel] Jurado, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rául [González]. It will be an interesting match but we have a very good chance. I don't know if Schalke's position [second bottom of the Bundesliga] is an advantage for us.

It is always interesting to play against teams in domestic trouble. A win would go a long way to helping us because then we would have six points after two games. The group is very even with three teams who will ask a lot of us. Pablo Aimar has been able to train again, he is in good shape, but of course he's not at the top of his game after missing four or five days.

Team news
Atsuto Uchida is fit again after breaking a toe at the start of September, although Tim Hoogland and Mario Gavranović are unavailable due to knee injuries.

Like Aimar (twisted right knee), Ruben Amorim (both knees) missed Saturday's 1-0 win at CS Marítimo, when Alan Kardec was an unused substitute. The Brazilian is yet to play this season after injuring a hamstring in pre-season training.

Weekend results
25/09/10 Schalke 2-2 VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach
(Huntelaar 52, Raúl 87; Daems 15pen, Bradley 43)
Raúl's first goal for Schalke earned a share of the spoils against a Mönchengladbach side reduced to ten men 12 minutes from time. Huntelaar had halved the deficit with his third strike in as many games.

25/09/10 CS Marítimo 0-1 Benfica
(Fábio Coentrão 58)
Nicolás Gaitán replaced Aimar in the only change to the team which defeated Sporting Clube de Portugal six days earlier. Fábio Coentrão's goal was his first in the Liga since 8 May 2009, when he was on loan at Rio Ave FC.

Did you know?
Schalke have met Portuguese opponents in UEFA competition on three occasions, all knockout ties, and emerged triumphant each time. The last encounter was in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League last 16 against FC Porto, when both legs ended 1-0 in favour of the home side. Schalke went through 4-1 on penalties in Portugal.

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