Schalke is embracing the role of underdog for Wednesday's Champions League clash against Manchester City with the Bundesliga struggler promising not to raise a white flag against the reigning Premier League champion.
Schalke has failed to win in its last four league games, leaving it 14th in the Bundesliga table, and it is having difficulty scoring goals.
City, in contrast, has hit a rich vein of form and was described by Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri as “the best team in Europe” after it thrashed his side 6-0 ten days ago, but Schalke insists it will not roll over in the last 16, first leg match at the Veltins Arena.
“The best team at the moment in Europe is coming, but we won't raise the white flag,” said Schalke striker Guido Bergstaller, back after an injury lay-off.
Coach Domenico Tedesco says Schalke has nothing to lose.
“There is nothing like a knockout match in the Champions League against a team that is one of the best in the world,” said 33-year-old Tedesco.
“We've worked a lot to be able to play such a game and have fun.
“Logically, we see a chance of winning, but of course we aren't the favourites.
“Man City are a very strong team, we'll need a red-letter day and have to give it our all.”
Tedesco has opted to restore club captain Ralf Faehrmann in goal against City's star-studded attack featuring Sergio Aguero and former Schalke player Leroy Sane, having previously dropped the fan favourite for Germany Under-21 keeper Alexander Nuebel.
Schalke last reached the Champions League semifinals back in 2011 and is under no illusion of the task it faces.
“Basically, City are an enormously strong team,” said Tedesco. “Everyone knows where everyone else is running.
“Whether it's a Sane, a Bernardo, a (Raheem) Sterling, they are similar types of players who are comfortable one-on-one and have a certain speed and quality.”
Tedesco gave little away as to whether new signing, Welsh winger Rabbi Matondo, 18, who joined from City last month having never made a senior appearance for the Citizens, could face his old club.
“Rabbi only was born in 2000 and we watched him for a long time,” said Tedesco.
“He's a very, very young player, he needs to be patient, but we need to be patient and we will.”
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