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Schalke face Scots in good heart

Group A: FC Schalke 04 will travel to Heart of Midlothian FC buoyed by a run of five straight league wins.

Heart of Midlothian FC will hope to have their new manager in place in time for Thursday's UEFA Cup Group A visit of Ralf Rangnick's high-flying FC Schalke 04, while Hungarian league leaders Ferencvárosi TC get their first taste of the group stage at home against Feyenoord, winners of the competition in 2002.

Hearts followed their 3-0 defeat by Feyenoord on Matchday 1 with the loss of manager Craig Levein to English first division side Leicester City FC last week. But the players showed no signs of unrest and eased to a comfortable 3-0 win against Dundee FC on Saturday despite captain Steven Pressley's early penalty miss. Kevin McKenna, Paul Hartley and Dennis Wyness scored the goals to keep Hearts fourth in the Scottish Premier League ahead of Schalke's visit, a game for which Mark de Vries and Phil Stamp, both sidelined on Saturday, hope to return. Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC's John Robertson is favourite to take the vacant manager's post at his old club.

Schalke will travel to Edinburgh on a high after winning their fifth straight league match under Rangnick. The new coach ensured Schalke recovered from their slow start to the season and his side are now second in the Bundesliga after defeating VfB Stuttgart 3-2 on Saturday. Ailton, Levan Kobiashvili and Lincoln got the goals for Schalke, who will be looking to make amends for Matchday 1's disappointing 1-1 draw with FC Basel 1893, having led for most of the game. The in-form Kobiashvili also scored for Schalke that day and Rangnick will have been delighted to see Ailton continue his recent scoring spree after resting the Brazilian striker against the Swiss champions. Defender Fabian Lamotte is still out with an ankle injury.

Feyenoord lost ground on Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven on Sunday with a heavy 4-1 loss at AZ Alkmaar. The Rotterdam side were thrown a lifeline when a Jan Kromkamp own goal gave them parity midway through the first half, but three goals in the final half-hour signalled their second loss of the season. There is little chance of Ruud Gullit making drastic changes to the side for the visit of Ferencvárosi TC, although left-back Ramon van Haaren and midfielder Sebastián Pardo are close to fitness after recovering from knee and hamstring injuries respectively. Winger Leonardo's knee ligament damage means he will be out until the new year, while another left-footed Brazilian, 20-year-old centre-half André Bahia, will not link up with the club until January after signing last week.

Ferencváros warmed up for Matchday 2 with a convincing three-goal victory at lowly Békéscsabai EFC. The Budapest outfit sat out the opening fixtures and will be hoping to capitalise on the excellent recent form that has taken them six points clear in the Hungarian First Division. Szabolcs Huszti has been at the centre of much of their success and the 21-year-old was instrumental at the weekend, forcing an own goal and scoring the second before teeing up Thomas Sowunmi for the third. The only concern for coach Csaba László ahead of Thursday's trip to the Netherlands is Czech Republic striker Robert Vagner, who was forced off midway through Sunday's win with an ankle injury, while Dénes Rósa is suspended.

Basel extended their lead at the top of the Swiss Football League to four points despite being held to a goalless draw by rivals FC Zürich on Sunday, a game which saw midfield player Scott Chipperfield been sent off three minutes from full time. Basel's next Group A assigment is against Hearts on 25 November.