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UEFA Champions League

  • 4 May 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: Pedro Proença
  • • Attendance: 74687

Manchester United win Aggregate 6 - 1

Manchester United - Schalke Preview: Hosts eyeing third Champions League final in four seasons

Manchester United - Schalke Preview: Hosts eyeing third Champions League final in four seasons

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First-leg goals by Giggs & Rooney mean Sir Alex Ferguson's men hold the advantage as they aim to finish the job at Old Trafford and book a Wembley date against Spanish opposition

Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Scholes, Anderson, Park; Berbatov, Owen.

Manchester United have few injury problems and may even be able to recall Darren Fletcher after the midfielder made his long-awaited return from a virus by playing 45 minutes for the reserves last week. Wayne Rooney, however, is a doubt after missing training on Tuesday with a tight hamstring.

Of course Sunday’s match against Chelsea will undoubtedly be on Sir Alex Ferguson’s mind when he comes to picking his team and the Scot has indicated he will give Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen starts, although he may opt for a strong defence.

Schalke (4-4-2): Neuer; Uchida, Metzelder, Howedes, Sarpei; Baumjohann, Matip, Papadopoulos, Jurado; Edu, Raul.

Benedikt Howedes remains a doubt, having missed Schalke’s last three games due to a stomach strain, and could join Christian Pander, Christoph Moritz, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and  Mario Gavranovic on the injured list.

  • Leading 2-0 from the first leg Manchester United are aiming for their third Champions League final in four years having won the competition in 2008 (beating Chelsea on penalties in the final) before losing 2-0 to Barcelona in Rome the following season.
  • The Premier league leaders warmed up for the second leg with a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, a result that means all four Champions League semi-finalists lost at the weekend.
  • However, the Red Devils are unbeaten at Old Trafford this season, indeed their last home defeat was over a year ago to Chelsea in the Premier League when the Blues won 2-1 on April 3.
  • In Europe this season, United’s home record is won three (beating Bursaspor, Marseille and Chelsea) and drawn two (against Valencia and Rangers).
  • Ryan Giggs (pictured right) scored the opener in Gelsenkirchen with a goal that saw him become the oldest ever goalscorer in the competition. At 37 years and 148 days he beat the previous record held by Filippo Inzaghi by 62 days.
  • Despite heading to Old Trafford two goals down, Schalke can take heart from their last Champions League away trip which saw them hit five at San Siro on their way to ousting holders Inter.
  • However, only two sides have ever overcome a first-leg home defeat in the latter stages of the competition. Inter and Ajax have both managed it, but the bad news for Schalke is both teams lost only 1-0 in the first leg.
  • Schalke defender Atsuto Uchida made history in the first leg by becoming the first Japanese player ever to appear in the Champions League semi-finals.
  • The visitors' preparations for the game saw them lose 4-1 away to Bayern Munich. That defeat is Schalke’s third in a row and leaves them in 10th place in the Bundesliga, just six points off the bottom three.
  • Schalke have five players within one yellow card of missing the final, should they beat United, they are: Raúl González, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Hans Sarpei and José Manuel Jurado.

Players to watch

D. Berbatov

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
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Dimitar Berbatov has been warming the bench in recent weeks such has been the form of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez but manager Ferguson has all but confirmed the striker will start on Wednesday.

The Bulgarian may be the Premier League’s top scorer with 21 goals but he has yet to register in the Champions League and will no doubt be aiming to break his duck against Schalke.

M. Neuer

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
For 67 minutes Manuel Neuer, seemingly single-handedly, kept Schalke in the first leg by pulling off a string of superb saves until first Giggs and then Rooney managed to find a way past.

He may well be in for another busy evening at Old Trafford, but if he can repeat his heroics and prevent an early goal that will all but kill off the tie, he may give his team hope that they can achieve what looks a formidable task.

Editor's Prediction

United veteran Ryan Giggs admitted after the game that his team were “disappointed” to depart Schalke only two goals to the good after a one-sided first leg in Gelsenkirchen.

Certainly the visitors were dominant throughout, and whilst Schalke’s heroics at San Siro in the last round will give them hope, United’s home record this season is superb and they will expect to see the job out comfortably and book their place in the final at Wembley.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Manchester United

Schalke 04


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Manchester United FC MUN
Manchester United FC Manchester United
FC Schalke 04 S04
FC Schalke 04 Schalke 04

Top 3 Predictions

Manchester United FC MUN
2 - 0
FC Schalke 04 S04
Manchester United FC MUN
3 - 0
FC Schalke 04 S04
Manchester United FC MUN
2 - 1
FC Schalke 04 S04