Champions League

Champions League: Schalke's Julian Draxler blames luck against Galatasaray

Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler blamed missed chances for his side's failure to qualify for the Champions League quarter finals.

Julian Draxler: Competes with the Galatasaray defence as Schalke crash out

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Teenage star Julian Draxler felt Schalke were unlucky to be knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Galatasaray.

The German club suffered a thrilling 4-3 aggregate defeat in the last 16 after losing 3-2 on Tuesday night at their Veltins Arena.

Schalke had taken the lead in the second leg and on aggregate through Roman Neustadter but their former player, Hamit Altintop, and Burak Yilmaz hit back in the space of five minutes.

Draxler, 19, then took charge of the second half to underline his immense potential and Michel Bastos equalised but Gala substitute Umut Bulut settled the tie in stoppage time.

Despite being knocked out of the Champions League last 16, Schalke will be happy with how their youngsters fared.

And Draxler told Sky Sports: "We tried everything today but our first half was not good enough.

"In the second half, we had some chances but we missed them. Maybe we did not have enough luck today."

Draxler now wants to help Schalke qualify for next season's Champions League by finishing in the top three of the Bundesliga.

Despite last weekend's win over defending champions and derby rivals Borussia Dortmund, they still trail third-placed Bayer Leverkusen by six points.

"The Champions League is the biggest competition," said Draxler. "Now we have to try and do well in the Bundesliga so we have the chance to play the Champions League again next year."

Hamit Altintop's stunning strike helped put Galatasaray into the quarter-finals. For highlights, sign in to skysports.com

Like Draxler, Schalke boss Jens Keller thought team paid the price for an unconvincing opening 45 minutes and the absences of the likes of injured Klaas Jan Huntelaar and suspended Jermaine Jones.

"I have no explanation for this first half," he said. "We have played like we used to a couple of weeks ago, without the necessary aggressiveness. Everyone put in maybe 10 per cent less than what was needed.

"We were not presumptuous but not focused enough. We allowed them too much space.

"In the second half, we dealt with them much better. They have played with a diamond in midfield and that had surprised us.

"We then entered the challenges much better. One must not forget which of our players were sidelined today. The second half was really strong. There is no reason for depressions now.

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