Jens Keller warns FC Schalke 04 that all-out attack is not the way to go as they seek another comeback to snatch a last-16 place from visiting FC Basel 1893's grasp.
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Jens Keller warned his FC Schalke 04 side that all-out attack is not the way to go as they seek to snatch a UEFA Champions League round of 16 place from FC Basel 1893's grasp.
The German outfit have lost their way since opening the group stage with two wins for the first time, and head into the matchday six decider in Gelsenkirchen knowing only victory will do. If Keller urged patience from a team struggling for form, prudence was the watchword from the Basel camp. Murat Yakin, emboldened by two Group E successes against Chelsea FC, is not about to let Schalke dictate terms. Basel will finish top if they collect more points than Chelsea.
Jens Keller, coach
Tactics will be very important. There are 90 minutes to go, 90 minutes to score – it wouldn't be clever to play all-out attack from the beginning. We have made a lot of comebacks this season and now we need another. We need a result and three points.
We'll run through all Basel's strengths and weaknesses with the squad. We have already demonstrated that we're able to beat them. In Basel we played well [winning 1-0] and we want more of the same tomorrow. We concentrate on our game rather than focusing too much on how Basel played against other teams.
I am concentrating on my work with the team and all other discussions [about Keller's future] won't sap my energy. We have a very important match tomorrow and I'm focused on that. As a coach I have to minimise the faults that players make and therefore I am responsible for everything.
Saturday: VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 Schalke (Raffael 24, Kruse 45+1; Farfán 17pen)
Fährmann; Uchida, Höwedes, Santana, Kolasinac (Fuchs 81); Matip, Neustädter (Szalai 84); Farfán, Meyer, Draxler (Clemens 89); Boateng.
• Reduced to ten men after Benedikt Höwedes received a second yellow card just before half-time, Schalke failed to maintain their four-game unbeaten Bundesliga run.
Jermaine Jones serves a one-match ban while Marco Höger (knee), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (knee) and Dennis Aogo (knee) are long-term absentees.
Murat Yakin, coach
In the first game [on matchday two] we were the better team and only lost due to the finer details, with a goal following a corner. We have to improve on that and the situation is different this time. Now we are in the box seat and Schalke have to attack. Obviously we won't play for a draw. We have a team who like to play attacking football. Our players want to win matches and have some fun. As a result, we will hopefully reach the next round.
We will not just focus on our defence. Schalke are the home team and have to win, but we pose a lot of danger on the counterattack. Schalke have good players in their attack, so we need to be careful. But we can defend well and we can attack in a way that wins us matches. We are high on confidence and want to put on a good show. After 90 minutes we will see where we are.
Everybody knows Schalke's quality. Both on the domestic front and in European football they are always able to do what they need when the time comes, when they're under pressure. But we have also shown this in the past. My team are under constant pressure to win in the Swiss league.
Matches in the Champions League underline our development. After our victory at Chelsea we had games at home to Schalke and Steaua and recognised that they were geared to stopping us. But in front of their own fans I cannot imagine that Schalke will hide and play defensively.
Saturday: Basel 1-1 Grashopper Club (Sio 90+3; Hajrović 36)
Sommer; Voser (Degen 80), Schär, Ivanov, Xhaka, Serey Die (Delgado 46), Salah, Elneny (Streller 66), Frei, Stocker, Sio.
• Despite facing one of his side's fiercest Super League title rivals, coach Yakin opted to leave captain Marco Streller on the bench and almost paid the price, Giovanni Sio salvaging a point with an equalizer deep into added time.
Marcelo Díaz is unavailable for the rest of the year with a broken rib. A thigh injury has ruled Behrang Safari out of recent games.
• Before this season the sides had met only once, a 1-1 UEFA Cup group stage draw on 21 October 2004. Basel subsitute Matías Delgado scored an 82nd-minute free-kick to earn a point for the visitors, who also included the Degen brothers. Levan Kobiashvili had put the home team ahead (8).