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Schalke look to secure passage against Steaua

FC Schalke will look to take the three points they need to seal a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 as FC Steaua Bucureşti visit in Group J, seeking a first win in Germany.

Schalke celebrate a UEFA Europa League goal
Schalke celebrate a UEFA Europa League goal ©Getty Images

FC Schalke host FC Steaua Bucureşti in Group J knowing victory will take them through to the round of 32, while the visitors will have to overcome an unenviable record in Germany.

Previous meetings
• Ralf Rangnick's Schalke had the best of proceedings in the sides matchday one meeting in Cluj-Napoca but could not find a way through Roni Levy's determined Steaua rearguard. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar came closest to engineering a decisive goal, hitting the crossbar in the second half.

• Schalke met Steaua's neighbours FC Sportul Studenţesc Bucureşti in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup second round; they won 1-0 away and 4-0 at home in what was their only previous tie against a Romanian side.

• Steaua's record in 13 games against German opponents is a somewhat dispiriting W1 D5 L7 (W0 D2 L4 in Germany). Steaua have not scored in their last four games against German sides.

• That lone victory against a German side was a 3-1 win against Borussia Dortmund in Bucharest in the second leg of a European Champion Clubs' Cup first round tie on 8 December 1957, having lost the first leg 4-2. With the away goals rule yet to be introduced, the tie was settled by a replay, which Dortmund won 3-1 in Bologna.

Match background
• Schalke's home record in their last 13 European home games reads W9 D2 L2; both those defeats came against sides from Manchester. They lost 2-0 to Manchester United FC in last season's UEFA Champions League semi-finals and by the same margin to Manchester City FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Steaua have not won in ten UEFA away games (five draws and five defeats) since a 2-1 UEFA Europa League play-off win at Saint Patrick's Athletic FC on 27 August 2009.

Team facts
• Schalke are scoring Group J goals with impressive efficiency; eight of their 15 strikes have found their target since the start of the group stage – a hit-rate better than a goal with every two shots.

• Steaua have the group stage's worst disciplinary record having had four players sent off in the first four matchdays.

• Steaua became the first side to win a European home game at the new National Arena when they beat Maccabi Haifa FC 4-2 on matchday four; prior to that, FC Rapid Bucureşti and FC Oţelul Galaţi had lost two games each at the new venue, while the national team had been held to two draws.

• Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is in line to make his 50th UEFA club competition appearance; the Dutch striker has played in Europe for sc Heerenveen, AFC Ajax and AC Milan, with his first 49 appearances producing an impressive 28 goals.

• Schalke boast Romanian talent in the form of forward Ciprian Marica, who started his career with Steaua's neighbours FC Dinamo Bucureşti. He represented FC Shakhtar Donetsk and VfB Stuttgart before joining Schalke this summer.

• Huub Stevens was named as Schalke's new coach before matchday two, replacing Ralf Rangnick. Stevens first coached Schalke from 1996 to 2002, winning the 1997 UEFA Cup as well as German Cups in 2001 and 2002. Originally a defender for Fortuna Sittard and PSV Eindhoven, the Dutchman was named by fans as the coach of Schalke's team of the century in 1999.

• Ilie Stan replaced Roni Levy as Steaua coach after matchday two. He spent the bulk of his playing career as a midfielder with the club (1987-95 and 1997), venturing abroad to represent KSV Cercle Brugge, AEL Limassol FC and Israeli sides Hapoel Petach-Tikva FC and Hapoel Tzafririm FC. He was briefly assistant coach of Romania in 2002 and 2004, and led FC Victoria Brăneşti to Romania's top flight with back-to-back promotions before resigning in April 2011.