Man Utd v Schalke preview
Red Devils set their sights on securing final date with Barca
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: May 4, 2011 7:12pm
United are hoping to avoid any untimely slip-ups against Schalke
Manchester United will be looking to book a Wembley date with Barcelona when they welcome Schalke to Old Trafford on Wednesday.
The Red Devils hold a commanding 2-0 lead from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final and know a final berth is theirs for the taking.
Barca await the victors in European football's showpiece event, with the Catalan giants having disposed of arch-rivals Real Madrid in their last-four encounter.
United appear to hold all the cards heading into their meeting with Schalke, with their record at Old Trafford this season almost faultless.
They have not tasted defeat on home soil since April 2010 and have won three and drawn two of their five fixtures at the Theatre of Dreams in this season's Champions League.
They are gracing the semi-finals of the European Cup for the 12th time and have never slipped up at this stage after establishing a first-leg advantage away from home.
The one crumb of comfort for Schalke will be that Sir Alex Ferguson's side came unstuck against Arsenal on Sunday in the Premier League and now face a make-or-break conclusion to the 2010/11 campaign.
The German outfit hardly arrive in the best of form themselves, with a crushing 4-1 domestic defeat to Bayern Munich over the weekend doing little for their confidence.
Schalke also head to Old Trafford in the knowledge that they have never won on English soil, with one draw and three defeats suffered on their four previous trips.
They are, however, unbeaten on their travels in Europe since going down 1-0 at Lyon on Matchday One and smashed five goals past reigning champions Inter Milan on their last continental away day.
Wayne Rooney missed Manchester United training on Tuesday with a hamstring complaint and faces a late fitness test ahead of the game.
Brazilian full-back Fabio will also be assessed closer to kick-off after picking up a knock.
Ryan Giggs sat out the defeat to Arsenal with flu but should be okay to return, while Dimitar Berbatov and Anders Lindegaard have been welcomed back into the squad after lay-offs.
Ferguson has revealed that Darren Fletcher will be involved after shaking off a virus.
Schalke are still waiting on news regarding Benedikt Howedes' fitness.
He has missed the club's last three fixtures with a stomach strain but will be given as long as possible to put himself in contention for a starting role against United.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar also faces a race against time to make Ralf Rangnick's plans, with the Dutch striker nursing a knee problem.
Mario Gavranovic (ankle), Christoph Moritz (knee) and Christian Pander (toe, cold) all definitely miss out.
UEFA Champions League Group A
|1||Paris St Germain||6||15|
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|3||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||7|
UEFA Champions League Group D
UEFA Champions League Group E
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
UEFA Champions League Group H