15/12/2013 09:00, Report by Nathan Thomas
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CL profile: Schalke

We're assessing all of the Reds' potential Champions League last 16 opponents. Here's German side Schalke…

How did they fare in Group C? Schalke’s 2013 Champions League season began in impressive fashion as Die Knappen (The Miners) picked up two wins from the first two games. An encouraging 3-0 win over Steaua Bucharest followed, before a tight 1-0 victory over Switzerland’s Basel. Chelsea then brushed aside the men from Gelsenkirchen with two 3-0 victories. But the German side weren't deterred and ensured qualification to the knockout phase with a 0-0 draw against Steaua Bucharest and a vital 2-0 win over eventual third-place finishers Basel.

What was their standout result? The root of Schalke’s successful group-stage campaign lay in their two clashes with nearest challengers FC Basel. The first match, played at Basel’s St. Jakob Park, was arguably the most crucial and yielded a slender victory for the Germans. With the Swiss outfit having bagged a shock victory over Chelsea in the first group game, Schalke’s win prevented a further charge from Basel and ensured the German side were still on track for qualification.

Who are the men to watch? Twenty-year-old Julian Draxler is one of Europe’s hottest properties. With three goals from midfield in the group stages, the young starlet has already established himself in Joachim Lowe’s Germany squad and his form will make or break Schalke’s progression in the Champions League.

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