Schalke - Olympiakos Preview: Hosts can seal place in last 16
Huub Stevens' side currently sit at the top of their group and know three points will see them progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League
By Enis Koylu
Uchida, Howedes, K Papadopoulos, Fuchs
Farfan, Holtby, Draxler
Torosidis, Manolas, Siovas, Holebas
Maniatis, Fejsa, Greco
Fuster, Mitroglou, Abdoun
The big news for Schalke is that they will be able to welcome back Atsuto Uchida at right-back. The Japanese star will either replace Kyriakos Papadopoulos or Joel Matip, with Benedikt Howedes shifting in-field, having played as a full-back during the weekend's 2-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.
Elsewhere, the hosts have a near-full-strength squad from which to pick their team, with Julian Draxler having recovered and returned after breaking his arm in the home draw with Montpellier.
Meanwhile, Olympiakos can be expected to make a couple of changes from the side that beat Kerkyra 2-0 in Athens on Saturday. Tassos Papazogolou has not travelled with the rest of the squad, and should be replaced by Kostan Manolas.
Giannis Maniatis could return in midfield in the place of Ariel Ibagaza, while coach Leonardo Jardim will have to choose between Rafik Djebbour and Kostas Mitroglou, but could opt for the latter after his recent run of good form in both Greece and Europe.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (pictured, right) is the only man to have scored on every Champions League group stage matchday so far this season.
- Kyriakos Papadopoulos started his career at Olympiakos, and became the youngest player in Greek Super League history when he made his debut in December 2007 at the age of 15.
- The Gelsenkirchen outfit have only lost two of their last 13 Champions League matches at the Veltins Arena.
- Olympiakos produced an extraordinary comeback to claim a dramatic 3-1 Champions League victory over Werder Bremen at the Weserstadion, back in 2007/2008.
- The Athenians also clashed with a Ruhr club last season, losing 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund when they travelled to Germany.
- Left-back Jose Holebas was born in Germany, but represents Greece at international level.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Schalke 04 3-1 Olympiakos
- 19.66 %
FC Schalke 04 2-0 Olympiakos
- 12.92 %
FC Schalke 04 2-1 Olympiakos
- 12.92 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||21 Nov 2012||FC Schalke 04 1 - Olympiakos 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||18 Sep 2012||Olympiakos 1 - FC Schalke 04 2|
|FC Schalke 04|
|7 Dec 2013||B. Mönchengladbach 2 - FC Schalke 04 1||BUN|
|3 Dec 2013||FC Schalke 04 1 - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 3||GERC|
|30 Nov 2013||FC Schalke 04 3 - VfB Stuttgart 0||BUN|
|26 Nov 2013||Steaua Bucureşti 0 - FC Schalke 04 0||UCL|
|23 Nov 2013||Eintracht Frankfurt 3 - FC Schalke 04 3||BUN|
|17||Jefferson Agustin Farfán||Striker|
|7||Ariel Miguel Ibagaza||Midfielder|
|10||Rafik Zoheir Djebbour||Striker|
Having scored on every matchday in this season's Champions League, the Netherlands international will be determined to keep that hot streak going. He may also feel he has a point to prove after being overlooked by national team coach Louis van Gaal in his side's last international encounter.
The 35-year-old is a veteran of this competition after first experiencing European football with Manchester United back in 2001. He will need to keep a cool head in Gelsenkirchen and with Olympiakos just one point behind second place Arsenal, he and his team-mates will be hungry to seize their chance.
Schalke have drawn both of their home games in this season's competition, but with qualification within their grasp, expect the support of the Veltins Arena crowd to push them over the line.