'Schalke capable of reaching Champions League semi-finals' - Kuranyi

The former Germany international believes that his old club have made progress in recent years, and are proving that the Bundesliga has developed well
By Hassan Talib Haji

Former Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi is confident that Huub Stevens' side are capable of repeating their run to the 2010-11 Champions League semi-finals this term.

The Konigsblauen sealed qualification from the group stage on matchday 5 with a 1-0 win over Olympiakos, and the 30-year-old has lauded their squad and coaching.

"They have got through the group stage very well. And anything is possible in the knock-out stage," he told Goal.com.

"I think they can follow the same path as they did in 2011. I think that the team is set up really well. They have a great mixture of experience and young players.

"They also have Huub Stevens, a very good trainer. So, Schalke are a strong team."

The current edition of the Champions League has seen three German teams qualify for the latter stages, and Kuranyi went on to say that the Bundesliga is showing its potential.

"You see the Bundesliga compared to the top teams in Europe more and more. Its teams have developed well in Europe.

"In the Bundesliga, there's a lot of competition, which has had an affect on how the clubs do in Europe. It's not just in the Champions League - German football is well represented in the Europa League too."

Young goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall's performances have attracted criticism in recent weeks, and Kuranyi believes he would always have a "hard time" replacing Manuel Neuer.

"He is still very young. I try to just focus on the game, but that's not always easy. The goalkeeper is a successor to Neuer. Whoever succeeds him will have a hard time.

"As a player, you have to try and ignore the whistles and give your best. Then people can see that you're there for the club. Good performances come with experience."

Kuranyi left the Veltins Arena in 2010 for Dinamo Moscow, but is not thinking about a return to the Bundesliga.

"I am fully focussed on Dinamo Moscow and trying to achieve our goals with the team. But in football you never know. I haven't been thinking about another club."

Schalke's final Group B game, a trip to France to face Montpellier, kicks off at 20:45CET on Tuesday.