Domenico Tedesco: Prestigious clubs and exciting trips for our fans
Schalke 04’s opponents in this season’s Champions League group phase will be Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto and Galatasaray. We gathered the thoughts from the management and the players after Thursday’s draw.
It’s a very intriguing and well-balanced group with no clear favourite. Porto, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow are all prestigious clubs and the fans can look forward to visiting some exciting locations. We can’t wait to get going.
Sporting director Christian Heidel:
There are no big sides that have been in the final or the semis in recent years, but it’s certainly not a group that we will waltz out of. We’re up against the Russian, Turkish and Portuguese champions. When Benedikt Höwedes moved to Lokomotiv Moscow, we joked that we’d see him soon in the Champions League, and here we are. When you’re in the Champions League, you want to get out the group at least. We know it won’t be so easy though.
Captain Ralf Fährmann:
After three years away, I cannot wait for our first Champions League match. I’m really looking forward to a reunion with Benedikt Höwedes and Jefferson Farfan against Lokomotiv Moscow. We have good memories of facing Porto in 2008 when we reached the quarterfinals for the first time. Galatasaray got the better of us when we met in the knockout stages a few years ago, so we want to put that right. We’re expecting six difficult games, but our goal is to reach the last 16.
We haven’t been drawn against a side from one of the bigger leagues, but I still think we’re in for some interesting games. All in all, I’m happy with the draw. There’s no favourite to top the group; every team will back themselves, and that includes us.
I think it’s a group we can get out of. All of the teams have quality, but looking across the draw, it certainly could have been trickier. It would have been nice to face one of Europe’s top teams, but there are still some attractive ties. We’ll take what we’re given and aim to reach the next round.