Valencia v Schalke
Kick-off: 19-45 (BST)
Valencia coach Unai Eme believes the presence of three former Real Madrid players Raul, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Christoph Metzelder in the Schalke side will “motivate” the Spanish side in tonight’s Champions League round of 16 tie.
“It’s such a beautiful, attractive and exciting game to play in that we are not thinking about a result right now,” said Emery. “The favourites for the Champions League are Real Madrid and Barcelona – after that there isn’t much difference and Schalke 04 and Valencia are dead level. We believe in our qualities but respect our opponents’ too – Schalke are very competitive.
“There are several ex-Madrid players at Schalke and it shows you their quality; those players make the difference. This should be something that motivates us.
“The key point of this round is intelligence over 180 minutes, and being able to overcome individual and collective problems. It is a very important game. I came to this club to take them to where they want to be and there is a great opportunity for growth.”
Vicente Rodríguez was an unused substitute at the weekend after recovering from a thigh problem. Juan Mata has an ankle problem though Emery remains hopeful he can play, while David Albelda is suspended.
Emery’s Schalke counterpart Felix Magath, meanwhile, is hoping to see his side score at the Mestalla.
“We’re facing a very strong team who are third in the Spanish league and have done a great job in the Champions League, scoring a lot of goals,” he said.
“Valencia as a team are similar to Lyon but stronger in attack. We are hoping to get a goal to give ourselves a better chance in the second leg. The team are improving because they’re getting to know each other and the way we work.
“In the Champions League we’ve been doing better because we’ve had many new, experienced players who needed time to get used to the Bundesliga.
“I was expecting a reception like this because of the sense of expectation Raúl brings. Now I just hope he can score tomorrow. Raúl is a great player in football terms and in human terms is an example to follow both on and off the field.”
Magath is without defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who did not travel after pulling a muscle in Schalke’s last training session before departure, while Christoph Moritz has a knee problem and is also absent.