Dortmund slayers Schalke target Galatasaray in Champions League
Resurgent Schalke 04 are out to extend their winning streak tonight by beating Galatasaray in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash and booking their place in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Holding a slight advantage with an away goal from the first-leg 1-1 draw in Istanbul three weeks ago, Schalke have won all three games since then, including Saturday's 2-1 Bundesliga victory over Borussia Dortmund.
The win came at a cost, however, with Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar tearing knee ligaments after having scored the decider. He will be out of action for the next few weeks.
Despite the loss of last season's top scorer in Germany, the Ruhr Valley derby win has boosted confidence, and Schalke are aiming for another win at Gelsenkirchen's Veltins Arena.
Coach Jens Keller is hoping the home supporters will play their part, even if there are sure to be several thousand Galatasaray fans in the crowd, given the Ruhr's large Turkish community.
"Beating the German champions doesn't happen every day and is encouraging for the tasks ahead," said Keller, whose side are fourth in the league, having dipped to 10th last month.
"It is impressive to hear how much the atmosphere has improved in the stadium - these are happy days for us," he added.
Captain Benedikt Hoewedes said that having turned their fortunes around with wins over Wolfsburg, Fortuna Düsseldorf and now Dortmund, Schalke must keep the run going.
"We mustn't ease up. Everyone needs to keep working hard on the pitch and keep playing at the same level, otherwise it can all go wrong again just as quickly," said the Germany defender, who has extended his contract with Schalke until 2017.
In contrast, Galatasaray remain top of the Turkish league despite Fatih Terim's team struggling against mid-table teams, in Friday's 1-0 defeat at home to Genclerbirligi and following their goalless draw at Eskisehirspor.
"Pull yourselves together," Terim is reported to have told his team, according to reports in the Turkish media after Friday's below-par performance.
"Against Schalke, I don't want to see you in this state."
Despite signing Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder in January, neither have yet made their mark at Galatasaray and they were both quiet in the first leg, as Burak Yilmaz's early goal was ruled out by an equaliser from Schalke's Jermaine Jones.