Schalke would rather play Manchester United than Barcelona claims Christoph Metzelder

Schalke defender Christoph Metzelder has declared he would prefer to be playing Manchester United tonight than Barcelona.

Although United start their 12th European Cup semi-final as favourites to reach the final at Wembley on May 28, history suggests they will not have it easy.

Twice the Red Devils have fallen to German opposition at this stage during Sir Alex Ferguson's reign and despite their poor form in the Bundesliga, Schalke's five-goal hammering of Inter Milan earlier this month indicates they are worthy challengers.

And Metzelder knows United are not quite the force of old despite their presence at the top of the Premier League.

"Every nation might have its likes and its dislikes but I know we would not have liked to play against Barcelona," said Metzelder.

"But we have to be realistic. We will not score five against Manchester United.

"They are a very disciplined team, who do not let you have the opportunity to score goals. It will be two very tight games."

The game has particular significance for Rangnick as it takes the 52-year-old back to his youth.

As a student in the late 1970s, he spent a year at Sussex University, regularly travelling to London to fulfil a lifelong passion with the beautiful game, either by watching Tottenham or Arsenal.

Occasionally, he would venture to the Goldstone Ground, which at the time housed a Brighton side good enough to hold their own in England's highest league.

"It was a wonderful feeling to see the support for everything," he said.

"I am looking forward to the atmosphere, both tomorrow and at Old Trafford. In England you don't get situations where the fans whistle in displeasure. It is real support."

However, Rangnick is not so starstruck as to be deflected from a path to glory.

And, rather than view the position as a negative, the Schalke coach views his side's relative inexperience as a pretty significant positive.

"Sir Alex Ferguson has more experience and has won many more trophies," he observed.

"Manchester United do have a very experienced team, on average three to four years older than ours.

"But maybe the fact we are more inexperienced means we are a really hungry team with more passion.

"It is something that makes this match all the more alluring for our team.

"Our players are in this position for the first time, with the exception of Raul, who might be there for the last time.

"We have to show what we can achieve and get the best out of it, so hopefully, this will be a benefit for us."

Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn