Emilio Butragueño is urging caution ahead of Real Madrid CF's FC Schalke 04 reunion, with Benedikt Höwedes and his team-mates determined to improve on 2013/14.
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• Madrid overwhelmed Schalke in last season's round of 16, winning 6-1 in Gelsenkirchen and 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabéu. Cristiano Ronaldo scored four of those goals, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema contributing two each.
• The Spanish side, however, have won on only three of their 27 trips to Germany, two of those victories coming last term, at Schalke and, in the semi-final second leg, 4-0 at FC Bayern München. They also lost 2-0 at Borussia Dortmund in their quarter-final second leg – though they prevailed 3-2 overall – and have suffered 18 defeats away to German clubs.
• Schalke have won just five of their 11 home games against Spanish teams, losing four including the last two. Overall they have won only seven of 25 matches.
Emilio Butragueño, Madrid director
It was a very favourable tie for us last year, where we were practically already qualified after the away first leg. This year we know every game is different. This one will be hard-fought. Schalke have a very competitive team, they're backed by a very passionate crowd, so I'm sure they will create difficulties.
We're playing very well and we're getting good results. But we're only in December. These matches will be played in February, in two months' time. We'll see where we stand then. Hopefully we'll be free from injuries and the team will be in good shape to take on this tie.
It's fantastic for the fans, the way the team is playing, winning every match. We've won our last 20 games and that's always very good news. We want to carry on like that, but we are aware that we are entering the second part of the season. That's when all the trophies are contested. So we have to be very careful, very concentrated, to maintain that same level of efficiency, concentration and productivity.
You have to recognise that [winning the trophy twice in a row] is a challenge for this team. No side in the history of the Champions League has retained the title. And that is, without doubt, something that our players want to achieve. We know the difficulties – there are some magnificent teams, and the road to the final is very rocky.
Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke defender
We know we took a beating last year and that Real Madrid are one of the best sides in the world. But even such teams are beatable. We will give our all to prevail against the holders.
Dennis Aogo, Schalke defender
I am looking forward to it very much. Last year I could not play due to injury. For me, this draw is a highlight. Together with maybe one or two other clubs, Real are the best team in the world, which is why it will be difficult for us, of course. But as footballer you always wish to mix it with the world's best.
Joel Matip, Schalke defender
Real of course are huge opponents, but it's two new matches over 90 minutes and you can always achieve something in football. We are looking forward to the games and want to show what we have learned from last year.
Tranquillo Barnetta, Schalke midfielder
It's obviously a difficult draw, but we are looking forward to two great games and the possibility to measure ourselves against such a top team. It will be difficult, but we will try to progress nevertheless.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Schalke forward
I'm looking forward to it very much, as they are one of the best teams in the world and I have never played them before. We'll do better than last year. The cards have been shuffled again.