Schalke need luck in Europe - Keller

The German side's boss feels that they have suffered due to a spate of injuries in recent months but can progress in the Champions League if his squad can stay fit
By Hassan Talib Haji

Schalke coach Jens Keller concedes that his side's chances of progressing in the Champions League depend largely on good fortune.

The Gelsenkirchen giants were made to endure a dissapointing exit from the competition last term at the hands of Galatasaray in the round of 16.

They begin their campaign this season at home to Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday and the 42-year-old is hoping for better luck with injuries.

"We want to go as far as we can in every competition," Keller told Goal, "but you always have to have a certain bit of luck. Last year we had lots of bad luck with injuries. Unfortunately, it has stayed like that this year.

"Klaas-Jan Huntelaar got injured and Saed Kolasinac is missing for several weeks. Plus, Kyriakos Papadopoulos can't play for a long time now.

"If regular starters like Papa, Klaas and Saed are missing for a long time, we can't compensate for that quality. That is normal. If we have more luck in that area, we can go far everywhere."

Papadopoulos is yet to play under Keller due to a succession of fitness problems and, though he is back in training, the coach is unsure when he will feature again.

"I cannot provide an exact prediction," he added. "He is on the pitch with the guys again but we don't want to take any risks."