Montpellier - Schalke Preview: Visitors can wrap up first place finish

Huub Stevens' side sealed their place in the last 16 by beating Olympiakos on matchday 5, but can make sure they end the group stage ahead of Arsenal on Tuesday


Congre, Yanga-Mbiwa, Hilton, El Kaoutari
Saihi, Estrada
Utaka, Belhanda, Cabella

Uchida, Howedes, Matip, Fuchs
Jones, Neustadter
Farfan, Holtby, Draxler

Montpellier coach Rene Girard could name a few changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Olympique Lyonnais on Saturday.

Geoffrey Jourdren, Teddy Mezague, Joris Marveuax, Karim Ait-Fana and Garry Bocaly have all been struggling with injuries, but Hilton returns to the fold after a recent layoff.

Meanwhile, Jamel Saihi and Cyril Jeunechamp could both feature having missed recent domestic matches through suspension, though the latter will have to see off competition from Daniel Congre. Finally, Remy Cabella could come back into the fold.

Whether Huub Stevens' decides to pick a strong Schalke side is open to conjecture. In theory they could name the same team that drew 1-1 with Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, featuring stars such as Lewis Holtby, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Julian Draxler.

However, he could opt to give game time to some of the fringe players, including the likes of Christoph Metzelder, Tranquillo Barnetta, Chinedu Obasi and Teemu Pukki. Timo Hildebrand should continue in goal in place of out of favour Lars Unnerstall.

  • Montpellier's 2-0 loss to Arsenal on matchday 5 not only confirmed their exit from the Champions League, but from all European competition this season.
  • The only point the Ligue 1 champions have won in the tournament was against Schalke at the Veltins Arena on matchday 2.
  • MHSC have entertained German opposition on three previous occasions, beating Koln and Duisburg in 1997 and 1999 respectively, before being held to a 1-1 draw by Hamburg.
  • Schalke need a victory to confirm their place at the top of Group B. If they were to lose or draw, they would have to hope that Olympiakos can stop Arsenal from winning.
  • Julian Draxler (pictured, right), who scored the equaliser against Borussia Monchengladbach at the weekend, broke his arm when these two sides first met in October.
  • Their victory over Olympiakos a fortnight ago was the only game that Schalke have won in their last five in all competitions.