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Raul looks for successful Spain return

5 April 2012 05:03

Raul scored more than 200 goals in 16 years with Real Madrid but the 34-year-old is on a new mission in Spain.

Raul is with Schalke, who face the daunting task of trying to overturn a 4-2 first leg Europa League quarter final deficit against team-of-the-moment Athletic Bilbao.

"It was an honour to play at the San Mames with Real Madrid because they always were emotional and exciting games," he said.

"For me this stadium is special because of the atmosphere the supporters create and to have another chance to play here with Schalke makes me so happy."

"I hope to provide some great entertainment and the same sort of game as in the first leg. Although our chances of qualifying are slim, we're going to start from the beginning, trying to score and creating the chances I will need."

The one glimmer of hope for Schalke is Bilbao's poor recent league form - the Basque side have lost four of their last five in La Liga.

But with four away goals from the first game in Gelsenkirchen, Marcelo Bielsa's side ought to have done enough to reach the last four.

In another German-Spain tussle, Hannover 96 will be slight favourites against Atletico Madrid at the AWD Arena.

They trail 2-1 from the first leg, but Mame Diouf's away goal could prove priceless.

They're also tough to beat at home, having lost just once there all season, in the German Cup.

Head coach Mirko Slomka believes Atletico will try to put another dent in that enviable record.

"I don't think that Atletico Madrid will play defensively," he said.

"I have seen them several times and on none of those occasions did they focus on defence. They had always two dangerous full backs, like Juan Fran who will be probably be replaced by a more defensively-minded player, but they will have at least four attacking players on the pitch, who have huge quality.

"Especially Diego, who scored for Atletico in their weekend win. He was very agile against us. The way they set up is not defensive. They like to keep possession, so we can take advantage of the space they might leave."

Atletico have only lost one of their seven away games in this year's Europa League - if they extend that to eight, they'll be through to the last four.

Brazilian playmaker Diego has the ability to win this tie for the Spaniards, but he admits it won't be easy.

"We have an advantage, but we need to make sure we play intelligently. We'll be playing to win and I hope we can do it," he said.

"Hannover are a strong team. We saw how good they were when we played them at home. The game at their ground tomorrow night will definitely be tricky with their fans behind them."

Elsewhere, despite trailing 2-1, Valencia will be favourites to beat Eredivisie leaders AZ at the Mestalla.

And Metalist Kharkiv trail Sporting by the same score going into their second leg in the Ukraine.


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Info

Competition
UEFA Europa League
Date
5 April 2012
Kick-off
21:05
Half-time
1 - 1
Full-time
2 - 2
On aggregate
6 - 4
Venue
Estadio San Mamés (Bilbao)
Attendance
40000

Goals

0 - 1
Ibai 41'
(assist by De Marcos) 
1 - 1
1 - 2
52' Raúl
 (assist by C. Obasi)
Susaeta 55'
(assist by Muniain) 
2 - 2

Lineups

# Player Bookings
1
15
5
3
23
24 53'
14 55'
21
9
19
10 71'
Coach: M. Bielsa
# Player Bookings
36
6
14 79'
3
32 75'
13
18
19 28'
10
7 52'
25 29'
Coach: H. Stevens

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
28 41'
2
6
11
13
17
32
# Player Bookings
17
8
12
21
22
28
33

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