Galatasaray's Altıntop relishes Schalke return
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Galatasaray AŞ midfielder Hamit Altıntop anticipates "an interesting couple of meetings" against former side FC Schalke 04, who are eager to visit "a great stadium and a great city".
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Galatasaray AŞ have won only six of their 24 fixtures against German opposition, but in Hamit Altıntop they have a man well versed in the threat his former side FC Schalke 04 pose in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. The teams meet in Istanbul on 20 February before travelling to Gelsenkirchen for the return on 12 March.
Hamit Altıntop, Galatasaray midfielder
I played my first Champions League match while at Schalke 04 and scored a goal against AC Milan. It will be nice to face them. There are no easy games at this level. The draw may seem easier than it could have been, but I know the German culture: they will be a team high on discipline. An interesting couple of meetings lie ahead.
I know all about their stadium and the atmosphere. Almost every game is a sell-out. In my first year there we were playing in the Intertoto Cup and there were 55,000–60,000 people there. Even if the excitement is not what we have in Turkey, there's substantial support. The Turkish community in Germany will be an advantage for us. We need to prepare well.
Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke captain
It's a satisfactory draw, but we will definitely not underestimate Galatasaray. I know the stadium in Istanbul from the [German] national team and I know the atmosphere is very special there. A great stadium, a great city and I'm sure our fans will look forward to it.
Jens Keller, Schalke coach
There are no easy draws in the second round of the Champions League, but I feel we have a chance against Galatasaray. If we play to our full potential we can reach the quarter-finals.
Horst Heldt, Schalke sporting director
We will be facing a team at the same level as us. Two difficult games await us and the emotions will certainly be high. It's likely to be close, but we remain confident we can progress to the next round.
Galatasaray and Schalke have never met in UEFA competition.