Schalke v Man Utd preview
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By Chris Burton. Last Updated: April 26, 2011 7:54pm
Schalke will be hoping history repeats itself when they face Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
United have failed to see off German opposition in a two-legged European tie in their previous four attempts - with Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich (twice) having dashed their dreams in the past.
Schalke will be looking to add their name to that list this season and continue their fairytale run through the 2010/11 competition.
The conquerors of reigning champions Inter Milan have upset the odds on a regular basis and are currently unbeaten in their last nine continental outings - picking up seven wins and two draws.
Ralf Rangnick's side have also got it together on home soil, winning all five of their European fixtures at the Veltins Arena this term.
They may be inexperienced when it comes to gracing the latter stages of this prestigious competition, but in Raul they have a striker who knows exactly what it takes to go all the way.
The Spanish striker is the all-time leading goalscorer in Champions League history, with 71, and has lifted the trophy on three previous occasions.
Manchester United have plenty of past winners of their own, though, and head to Germany unbeaten in 11 European games - with their last defeat coming against Bayern Munich a little over a year ago.
They have lost only one of their last 22 away games in the Champions League and have yet to concede on their travels this season.
A miserly defence has shipped just three goals in 10 fixtures, but a shot-shy strike force has found the target only 12 times - the worst return of the four semi-finalists.
United know another shut-out on Tuesday would make them strong favourites to book a date at Wembley for the Champions League final, with the second leg of their meeting with Schalke set to be staged at Old Trafford next Wednesday.
Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes will be given every possible chance to recover from a stomach strain.
The Germany U21 international was a goalscorer in the quarter-final win over Inter and coach Rangnick knows he will have to reshape his entire starting line-up if Howedes does not make it.
There is better news regarding Kyriakos Papadopoulous and Peer Kluge, who have both recovered from minor problems and will be available.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be without the services of Dimitar Berbatov as he attempts to break his hoodoo against German opposition.
The Bulgarian striker has failed to shake off a groin problem in time to make the trip and has been left behind in England for further treatment.
Midfielders Owen Hargreaves (shoulder) and Darren Fletcher (virus) remain unavailable to the Red Devils, but John O'Shea has recovered from the slight knock he picked up in the 1-0 victory over Everton on Saturday.
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||5||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|4||FC Viktoria Plzen||5||0|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||5||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||5||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H
Schalke v Man Utd
Legendary Spanish striker Raul claims he is as determined as ever to secure UEFA Champions League glory.
Sir Alex Ferguson is refusing to underestimate Schalke ahead of their Champions League semi-final showdown on Tuesday.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the return to fitness of defender Rio Ferdinand ahead of Tuesday's clash with Schalke.