Schalke general manager Andreas Müller believes Atletico Madrid are the 'worst possible opponents' for his team in the Champions League third qualifying round.
The Royal Blues were pitted against Atletico on Friday with Müller acknowledging the draw had not been particularly kind to either side.
He told the club's official website: 'It is the worst possible opponent for us, but I am sure Atletico would have preferred different opponents too.'
Müller feels the fixture would not look out of place 'in the actual quarter-finals' and rates his team's chances of progressing at '50/50'.
Schalke reached the last eight of the competition for the first time in their history last season, before being narrowly beaten by Barcelona.
This year they will have to overcome Spanish opposition merely to reach the group stages.
President Josef Schnusenberg believes the experience of last term could give his side the edge of Atletico over two legs, the first of which takes place in the Arena AufSchalke on August 13 shortly before the start of the Bundesliga season.
'This is certainly the most uncomfortable opposition we could have met, but we proved last season that we can survive in the Champions League,' he said.
'Our team will certainly know what they are up against.'
Club captain Marcelo Bordon is looking forward to the clash, and reckons it will be an exciting encounter.
He said: 'There are no easy games in qualifying for the Champions League, but we showed last year what we are capable of.
'The game against Madrid is a super one for us and certainly a highlight for our fans at the start of the season.'