Gazprom

09.08.2013

Schalke to face Metalist in play-offs

The Royal Blues were paired with Metalist Kharkiv in the Champions League play-offs when the draw was made at the House of European Football in Nyon on Friday. Jens Keller's side will contest the first leg at the VELTINS Arena.

The home tie will take place on Wednesday 21 August at 2045 CET, with the return leg in Ukraine on Tuesday 27 August.

Roman Neustädter on the draw

It's a nice and exciting draw. Ukrainian football has come on a lot in recent years. The people are really passionate about the game, especially since the European Championships were held there in 2012. Their club sides have also improved recently, so it's going to be very close. Personally I'm looking forward to playing in the land of my birth with Schalke.

The draw is not clear cut, however. UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against Metalist over alleged match-fixing offences and the case will be heard at UEFA headquarters on 13 August. The outcome is open and it is not yet known what will happen if the Ukrainian club are excluded from the competition. UEFA will not make a decision until after the verdict has been reached.

Benedikt Höwedes reacts to the draw

The pot was full of good teams so we always knew we'd be facing tough opponents no matter who we got in the draw. I'm not overly familiar with Ukrainian football but last season we saw the kind of performances clubs from this league are capable of in the example of Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Ukrainian runners-up booked their place in the play-offs with a 3-1 aggregate win (2-0, 1-1) over PAOK FC, who are now coached by Huub Stevens, in the third qualifying round. Their squad includes a host of South American footballers. Metalist are captained by former Bayern player Jose Ernesto Sosa, who was contracted to the Munich outfit between 2007 and 2010. They play their games at the Metalist Stadium, which hosted three group games at Euro 2012 and has a capacity of 38,633.