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Feb 20, 2013

Huntelaar looks to lead Schalke revival

Schalke are looking to Netherlands star Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to inspire a Champions League victory over Galatasaray on Wednesday and turn their season around.

• Schalke blog: One abyss to another
• Galatasaray blog: Ready to roar

Huntelaar, 29, has been given the green light to face Galatarasaray in Turkey after struggling with an eye problem and is determined to make an impact.

"I am delighted I can make my comeback in Champions League," he said, having missed the club's last two games. "This game is also a chance for us to get into our stride as a team again. I am still confident that we can achieve something this season."

Huntelaar, who has only scored five goals in 19 Bundesliga games this season, was on target four times during the group stage of Champions League and is considered the Bundesliga side's major threat.

"The first question in every interview with the Turkish media has focused on whether or not Klaas-Jan is available," Schalke boss Jens Keller told the pre-match press conference.

Huntelaar is set to replace Raffael in starting line-up, with the on-loan Brazilian cup-tied after having appeared in the competition for parent club Dynamo Kiev, and Keller is confident of success.

"We've watched Galatasaray several times and we're in with a shout of coming out on top," Keller said. "We definitely want to get through to the quarter-finals."

Keller also revealed he could bench Austria international Christian Fuchs and use 19-year-old Sead Kolasinac at left back. "This is worth considering," he said, following Fuchs' recent slump in form.

Schalke goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand, meanwhile, urged his team-mates to look beyond the winter signings Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba.

"Galatasary have got more than two players," he said. "We need to look out for all 11 opponents."

Meanwhile, Berliner Zeitung reports that Schalke could run into major financial troubles if they miss out on qualification for next year's Champions League.

They are currently ninth in the Bundesliga, seven points behind the final qualification place, and the newspaper reports that they would struggle to manage their wage bill - said to be more than €50 million - should they miss out.

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