Shalke v Inter Preview Champions league quarter final 2nd leg

Here we are just a few hours from the 2nd leg of the Champions league quarter finals against Shalke, (cue the Mission Impossible music) and already most people have written off our chances of progressing to the semis but is it really that impossible for Inter to pull off the comeback again in Germany?  Everyone at Inter and all us Nerazzurri faithful don’t seem to think so, i mean if they can score 5 against us in the 1st leg then why should it be so unlikely that we can get 4 tonight?  As long as Leonardo puts a bit of emphasis and pace in the defense like he did against Chievo last weekend there’s no reason why we can’t show the Germans the door, and as an extra boost for Inter Walter Samuel is in the squad for the first time since his injury in November, though i really think Leonardo shouldn’t play him in this match and risk him, that said i don’t see anything wrong with putting him on for the last 10 minutes just to get him some competitive match practice.

Squad

Leonardo has called up 22 Nerazzurri players for Schalke 04 v Inter, the return leg of the quarter-finals of the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League, to be played on Wednesday 13 April at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen.
Goalkeepers:
1 Julio Cesar, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 21 Paolo Orlandoni;

Defenders:
2 Ivan Cordoba, 4 Javier Zanetti, 6 Lucio, 13 Maicon, 15 Andrea Ranocchia, 23 Marco Materazzi, 25 Walter Samuel, 55 Yuto Nagatomo;

Midfielders:
5 Dejan Stankovic, 8 Thiago Motta, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 14 Houssine Kharja, 17 MacDonald Mariga, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 20 Joel Obi, 29 Philippe Coutinho;

Forwards:
9 Samuel Eto’o, 22 Diego Milito, 27 Goran Pandev.

My Predicted Line up

I think Leonardo should go with a 4-3-1-2 formation with Julio Cesar in goal(Obviously!), Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia & Nagatomo in defense then Kharja, Cambiasso & Zanetti in midfield with Sneijder sitting just behind Eto’o & Milito up front,  then during the game sub Kharja for Stankovic and in the last 10 mins give Samuel a run out in place of Ranocchia.
Press Conferences
Leonardo
”I knew Schalke 04 coach Ralf Rangnick before the first leg. He came back here after a while away and that’s never easy, but he immediately got everyone motivated and has done well both in Europe and in the league. If he was inspired by Arrigo Sacchi, he has taken the example of one of football’s greatest,” explained Leonardo at the press conference the day before Schalke 04 v Inter, the UEFA Champions League quarter-final return leg that will be played at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen tonight (20:45 kick-off).

Leonardo was asked if he believes in miracles: “I don’t believe in miracles but in results that happen in sport, because what happened in the first leg was strange and now we have to come up with something special. We don’t only believe we can go through; we believe we can produce a fantastic performance. What’s important is that we get the balance right, even if we’re aiming for a big result. If you want a big result you need to turn in a big performance. It’s important that we have the whole squad available: Lucio is with us again, Chivu is suspended, but we’re almost at full strength.”

The Nerazzurri coach was then asked about the general condition of the team. “I think the players are clear-headed. They have all had their own comebacks, in football and in life. They are determind to prove that what happened in San Siro was a blip because we didn’t perform to our potential. They’re all in pretty good shape, overall fitness levels are good, but of course we’ll have to assess some minor problems that a few of the players have. We still have a day and a day at this level is a lot. How much is about tactics and how much psychology? Naturally the psychological aspect is important. It’s a game between two teams and we have to win while they have to make sure they don’t concede four goals. We’re aware of the difficulties but we have nothing to lose. Let’s not forget that in the first leg, in all the episodes that went their way we were also very unlucky. What am I going to say to the lads? I can’t tell you anything now: those things are born of the moment and can’t be prepared. We will plan the tactical side of things very carefully but what I say will come naturally when it comes to the time to speak to the players. If we think about it, in pragmatic terms, anything can happen in football and the team know that. It will be a very exciting game.”
Javier Zanetti
Javier Zanetti is the player chosen by Leonardo to accompany him in the press conference on the eve of Schalke 04 v Inter, the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg to be played at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen tomorrow (20:45 kick-off).

“I’ve been here twice before, in the old stadium, for the UEFA Cup,” said the Nerazzurri captain, “but tomorrow will be my first time in the new stadium. It’s a great stadium and we hope that it will also be a great evening for us tomorrow.”

Zanetti was asked if he thought the Germans would make any changes to their team. “We respect their whole squad so it doesn’t matter if they change things. Is Farfan’s suspension a bonus? I know him and have faced him many times with Argentina. He’s an important player but we’re only thinking about playing our own game and hoping that everything will work out for the best.”

Is the feat required tomorrow a possible or an impossible one? The skipper replied: “We’re aware of the fact that it will be difficult but we have 90 minutes to try and pull off an amazing result. Lots of things can happen in 90 minutes if you perform to the best of your ability. It’s crucial that we reduce our mistakes to the minimum and create lots of chances so we can score lots of goals. Would it be an injustice if we went out against Schalke? I have respect for Schalke; they proved in the first leg that they are an excellent side and if they’ve come this far it means they have certain qualities. Still, knowing that it will be tough, we want to put in a top performance to give us the best chance possible of qualifying. We are a very good team regardless of who plays. It happens sometimes that you mess up a game but that doesn’t take anything away from Inter’s worth. Tomorrow we still have a chance to go through and we want to give it our best shot, but don’t say that we didn’t respect them enough in the first leg; we never underestimated them. As I said, you mess up games sometimes but that takes nothing away from Inter’s worth and everything that Inter have won over the years.”

President Moratti

President Massimo Moratti answered the questions put to him by journalists outside the Saras offices yesterday
Here you can read the Inter president’s statements:

Inter have been described as a ‘crazy’ team before. Could that work to your advantage against Schalke on Wednesday?
“It’s about remaining fully focused and trying to pull off something that seems impossible, yet it’s precisely that impossibility that makes it such an intriguing match.”

After a long spell on the sidelines, Walter Samuel is now available again: could that give the team a psychological boost?
“I don’t think he’ll play or be in the squad but…”

He’s in the squad.
“Ah, good then. That way he can start getting involved with the group again. I doubt he’ll be able to play, though. Samuel is a sure-fire guarantee. We’ve all forgotten what might have happened this year if he had been playing. Maybe we would be sitting a little higher – he’s such an important figure.”

It’s a very particular moment for the whole team but perhaps even more so for Diego Milito…
“He’s looked good to me. In the two games he’s played, I thought he looked sharp and very fresh. That’s great and if he could give us a hand right now, he would be very handy indeed. But all the players seem really up for it. We know it’s going to be very difficult but, as I said, what makes this game so intriguing is precisely the fact that it seems impossible.”

Was Yuto Nagatomo Leonardo’s idea or had the club been tracking him since before Christmas?
“We’d been following him for a while. It was an opportunity: we did a swap that was good both for him and for Santon. For us, it meant bringing in a player with certain characteristics, and for the time being he seems to be doing very well.”

Do you think Inter have more chance of reaching the Champions League semi-finals or overtaking AC Milan in the league?
[He smiles] “We’re just taking it one day at a time and we’ll see where we end up.”

Conclusion

There is no doubt that tonight’s game will be a very tough one for Inter, but we have an extremely strong team and as Leonardo said anything is possible in football and anything can happen in the 90 minutes on the pitch so who knows in a couple of weeks we may still be lining up against Manchester United in the Semis and until the final whistle is blown tonight we have to keep the faith that it’s still a possibility, that said if we do get knocked out of the competition by Shalke we can still hold our heads high as Interista because Inter are still among the world’s elite and going out in the quarter finals isn’t something to be ashamed of and besides it’s like Zanetti said nothing can take away what Inter have achieved in the last 6 years.  So my prediction on the score has to be 4-0 to Inter as i truly believe we can achieve the impossible!
PAZZA INTER AMALA!!!
FORZA THE MIGHTY NERAZZURRI!!!!
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About Don Nerazzurri

Huge fan of FC Internazionale Milano and founder of the Nerazzurri World blog, Inter is in my soul, cut me & I bleed black and blue! 'il Padrino' of the #InterFamily! C'e Solo l'Inter! Follow me on Twitter - @Don_Nerazzurri

Posted on April 13, 2011, in UEFA Champions League and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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