Gazprom

17.02.2017

50 up for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar!

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's stoppage time strike in the first leg away at PAOK FC saw him join a rather elite group of players. The goal was the Dutchman's 50th in European competition through his career - a feat only achieved by 15 other players.

"I am very proud to have reached this landmark," said the 33-year old, whose goal drew him level with Real Madrid legend Alfredo di Stefano and the more temporary Didier Drogba.

31 of the 50 have come in the FC Schalke 04 jersey, but the landmark goal was not his only cause for celebration when the ball hit the net. "I am just glad to be fit again after spending such a significant time out," the striker admitted, who has been unavailable for around three and a half months due to a knee injury. He made his initial return to the pitch in the final moments of the DFB Cup win against SV Sandhausen, following that with another short appearance against Hertha BSC. The head coach was also quick to congratulate Huntelaar, stating "his goal was the icing on the cake for us".

"The result has given us a good chance of qualifying for the next round. We will not need to go all out in the second leg and will look to seal things calmly and sensibly at home," continued the striker, who himself will be aiming to make a further appearance in the return fixture. "My knee is strong again. I have been in full training for two weeks and I feel fit. There was a bit of stiffness in the muscles in the first few days but the passed fairly quickly."

The target for S04 now is to take the momentum generated from the three consecutive wins (four games undefeated in total) into Sunday's match in Cologne. Huntelaar expects a difficult match in the RheinEnergieStadion against an opposition who was "tough to beat, especially at home where they are still yet to lose." That being said, omens of old are aiding his positive approach: "last year we played very well there and won 3-1, and I scored myself. We can do that again. We have risen to the occasion well before and if we do that again we will be able to get something against Köln."