PSV v Schalke
Following the annual exodus of many of their star players in the close season, the Dutch champions may struggle to match their heroic feats of last season, where they were narrowly – perhaps undeservedly – beaten by eventual runners – up Milan (who coincidentally, have also been drawn in Group E). And a tricky opening tie against a much-improved Schalke will certainly not aid their efforts.
Owing to a knee injury that he sustained over the weekend, PSV’s Brazilian defender, Alex, will definitely miss the game, as will Nigel De Jong (knee) and Mika Vayrynene (ankle).
Guus Hiddink’s team are further depleted by the enforced omissions of Arouna Kone and Michael Ball – recently acquired from Roda JC and Glasgow Rangers respectively – who are both cup – tied. More positively, Michael Reiziger has been granted clearance to play after returning to the club from Middlesborough
Schalke will be without the injured Gerard Asamoah. Coach Ralf Rangnick may decide to replace him with the young Dane Soren Larson – who scored over the weekend – but, given the threat posed by PSV on the counter attack, he may well opt for a more attritional 4-5-1 formation, with Ebbe Sande tucking in behind loan striker Kevin Kuranyi.