S04 expecting an open match tonight in Moscow

1304 days after the spectacular 4-3 victory over Real Madrid in the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Schalke 04 are back in Champions League action away from home. After a 1-1 draw against FC Porto in their opening group game, the Royal-Blues are in Moscow to take on Lokomotiv Moscow (18:55 CEST) in search of their first European win of the season.

“We want to play a bold game of football” pledged S04 head coach Domenico Tedesco. “I think our opponents will approach the game in a similar way and will also be bold in their style of play. Therefore, I’m expecting an open game.” Tedesco has extensively analysed the Russian champions, who opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 away defeat at Galatasaray. “Lokomotiv are strong in central defence and possess players strong in tackles and in the air. They also have talented players up and down the pitch,” said the 33 year old.

We want to play a bold game of football

Domenico Tedesco

Despite the quality of opposition, S04’s aim is to return to Gelsenkirchen in high spirits with all three points. “You’re in high spirits when you take something meaningful out of a football match,” emphasises Tedesco. Saturday’s victory over 1. FSV Mainz 05 will be an important factor for the Royal-Blues tonight, who go into the game with confidence. “It is a good feeling,” admits the head coach. Tedesco also mentions how his team must work on their efficiency in front of goal. “We have to take more of our chances and score more goals. The chances were there for us on Saturday,. If we had been 2-0 up, then we wouldn’t have been as nervous in the final minutes.”

Around 1,000 Schalke fans in Moscow

The Royal-Blues will be cheered on by around 1,000 fans tonight, who have made the journey to the Russian capital to be in the RZD-Arena tonight. Tedesco did not reveal his plans for his starting lineup. “We have rested some strong players in recent weeks. It is important for us to find the right starting lineup for each match.”

However, Amine Harit has been ruled out of the match in Moscow. The Moroccan international suffered a thigh injury in the 1-0 home win over Mainz and hasn’t travelled to Russia. Alessandro Schöpf will also miss tonight’s clash due to an infection.  “It is painful that these two players will not feature for us, as both Amine and Schöpfi are two strong players in one-on-one situations,” explained Tedesco. “However, we have other good players in our squad, who are with us in Russia and ready to take their places.”

Harit and Schöpf join Bastian Oczipka, Bejamin Stambouli (both returning to fitness), and Steven Skzybski (muscle injury) on the S04 injury list. Cedric Teuchert, who didn’t play against Mainz due to muscle problems, returns to the squad and is an option for Tedesco.

S04 squad to face Lokomotiv Moscow

Goalkeepers: Ralf Fährmann, Michael Langer, Alexander Nübel

Defenders: Hamza Mendyl, Matija Nastasic, Abdul-Rahman Baba, Sascha Riether, Salif Sané, Naldo

Midfielders: Weston McKennie, Omar Mascarell, Suat Serdar, Nabil Bentaleb, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Sebastian Rudy, Daniel Caligiuri.

Forwards: Mark Uth, Franco Di Santo, Guido Burgstaller, Cedric Teuchert, Breel Embolo.

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