Schalkes Keller gets shirty for Real clash
Coach Jens Keller has said Schalke 04 will not be content just making up the numbers or swapping shirts with Real Madrid's stars in Wednesday's Champions League last 16 clash.
The Royal Blues host Real at Gelsenkirchen's Veltins Arena with Keller's side eager to contain the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to get a result in the first-leg ahead of the last 16's return leg in Spain on March 18.
"We want to pull off a small miracle. We're not just going out there to swap shirts with Real's stars," said Keller defiantly, referring to Bayer Leverkusen's drubbing by Real's Spanish rivals Barcelona at the same stage in the competition two years ago.
In February 2012, Leverkusen were beaten 3-1 at home in the last 16, then thrashed 7-1 in Barcelona, but not before Bayer players Michal Kadlec and Manuel Friedrich had argued over who would swap shirts with Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Keller has said there will be no such debate over which Schalke player can claim Ronaldo's famous number seven shirt after the Royal Blues' goalless draw with Mainz 05 on Friday night in the Bundesliga.
"Mainz were strong opposition, so there's nothing wrong with the result," said Keller with Schalke fourth in the Bundesliga and dropped their first points of the year after four consecutive wins.
"We now look forward to the Champions League game against Real Madrid.
"Even if we get a negative result, I am convinced we can handle it well, we have grown as a team."
Schalke have a decent Champions League record in recent years having reached the 2010/11 semi-finals and bowed out at the last 16 stage to Galatasaray last season.
"These are the games you dream of as a small child," said Germany midfielder Julian Draxler, who came on for the last 25 minutes against Mainz after missing three months with an ankle injury.
Schalke certainly have their work cut out in the next week hosting Carlo Ancelotti's Real on Wednesday in the Champions League, then European champions Bayern Munich away in the Bundesliga next Saturday.
"Next Saturday we play against the best team in the world, and on Wednesday against one that is not far from it," said Schalke's director of sport Horst Heldt.
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