Valencia v Schalke preview
Tuesday night sees Real Madrid legend Raul back on Spanish soil as his Schalke side go to Valencia.
Last Updated: 15/02/11 11:38am
Tuesday night sees Real Madrid legend Raul back on Spanish soil as his Schalke side go to Valencia in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
The Mestalla will provide the setting for the first leg of an intriguing second round encounter, meaning the hosts will be keen to ruin Raul's night.
Valencia do not have the best of records against German opposition, though, and have drawn their last two games with Schalke on home soil.
They have been held seven times by Bundesliga sides in Europe, including the last three fixtures in a row.
Los Che have won only one of their last 12 games against German teams, but that solitary success did come against Schalke in the 2007/08 Champions League.
While those statistics will worry the Spaniards, the fact that they have won only four of their last 17 games in Europe's premier club competition will also cause concern.
Schalke have problems of their own, though, as they enter the knockout stages with no goals scored in their previous six European away games prior to beating Benfica in their last game on the road in the group stage.
In fact, they have failed to score in eight of their last 14 Champions League fixtures.
The German giants have also fared badly against Spanish sides over recent years, failing to win any of their last seven meetings with teams from the Primera Liga.
They are, however, a tough side to break down, having conceded just seven times in their last 13 Champions League games, and will be hoping to keep things tight again on Tuesday.
Valencia saw Vicente Rodriguez return to their bench at the weekend following a thigh problem and he could be involved again in midweek.
Juan Mata is expected to shake off an ankle knock in time to play but David Albelda, who is nursing a knee problem, is suspended.
First-choice keeper Cesar Sanchez has been restricted to just four appearances since 21st October, following a succession of niggling injuries, but coach Unai Emery insists he is 'ready'.
Schalke will be without Kyriakos Papadopoulos as he has not travelled with the squad after pulling a muscle in training.
Christoph Moritz has a knee problem and will also be missing, but Raul is raring to go in familiar surroundings and is expected to figure alongside fellow former Real stars Christoph Metzelder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.