In their fourth semi-final in the last five seasons, can Sir Alex Ferguson’s men live up to their expectations by pulling a victory over their German opponents that have never before reached this stage of the prestigious tournament?
Schalke can fancy their chances in progressing into the final of the UEFA Champions League as their opponents Manchester United have an utter rubbish record against German opponents. Manchester United have previously lost their last four knock-out ties against Bundesliga opponents.
So far this season, Schalke have pretty much reserved their spectacular performances in the European stage. Despite finishing an impressive second in the Bundesliga last season, they are currently lying at a distant 10th position this time round.
The German powerhouse shocked everyone when they ended up 7-3 winners over defending champions Inter Milan in the quarter-finals and Valencia in the first tie of the knock-out stages.
The biggest injury concern for Schalke is their Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, who will miss the tie with a knee injury. 22-year-old center-back Benedikt Howedes is a serious doubt due to a stomach-muscle problem and is likely to be replaced by Joel Matip.
Manchester United are currently flying high at the top the table in the Barclays Premier League as they are six points clear of their nearest title-contending rival Chelsea FC.
The Red Devils struggled to a 1-0 victory last week, thanks to a late goal from Jaview Hernandez. Captain Nemanja Vidic should be able return to the starting lineup and he will likely be paired with Rio Ferdinand. Veteran winger Ryan Giggs might be drafted to the middle alongside Michael Carrick as he has been terrific in the center of the pitch.
Korean winger Park Ji Sung, who is one of the best performers in Manchester United away from home, is likely to be deployed down the left flank. Meanwhile, Antonio Valencia and Luis Nani will both be fighting for the place at the wide right.
Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov’s absence doesn’t seem to be troubling Alex Ferguson a lot as Mexican hotshot Javier Hernandez has already guaranteed his place in the United strikeforce alongside Wayne Rooney.
Probable team lineups :
Neuer; Uchida, Howedes, Metzelder, Escudero; Farfan, Papadopoulos, Jurado, Baumjohann; Raul, Edu.
Manchester United (4-4-2)
Van der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Park; Hernandez, Rooney.