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Mar, 7, 2011

Schalke striker Raul wary of Valencia

Schalke striker Raul believes that Valencia will provide his side with a tough test in the second leg of their Champions League tie, but hopes the Germans can progress and reinvigorate their flagging domestic season.

Schalke lost to struggling Stuttgart at the weekend and rumours are gathering pace that coach Felix Magath could be on his way out if they do not get a result against Los Che at home, having drawn 1-1 at the Mestella last month.

However Raul, who played his entire career in Spain before heading to the Bundesliga last summer, believes his side are full of confidence and can deal with Valencia's considerable threat.

"I expect them [Valencia] to be even more dangerous in comparison to the first leg," he told UEFA's website. "I think they have great players who can play great matches away too. Although we have a small advantage going into the second leg, it's another 90 minutes in which Valencia have the ability to turn things around and score goals here."

Schalke have been in the last eight of Europe's elite competition only twice before and the striker is in no doubt how important a win over Valencia would be for his side.

"We are full of confidence, and we hope to make it to the quarter-finals," he said. "It would be a great achievement for Schalke 04 to be among the best eight teams in Europe."

Raul is the Champions League's all-time top scorer (with 71) and claims his ambition to succeed is still burning, despite his success in the competition already.

"I'm happy with what I've achieved," he said. "I've had the chance to play in three Champions League finals and win them, and have also won individual awards, and whenever I hear the Champions League anthem it's something different.

''Of course I hope I can score more goals, or even just one in the match against Valencia to help the team succeed. It could be that this is my last match in the Champions League - so many things can happen, and only time will tell.

"I get up every day with the intention of still improving and learning from my team-mates and coaches, and that makes me feel good. That's also why I chose to have this new experience, to come here to Germany. It was time for a change, and this is a new experience, and it's going very positively from both a family and a sporting perspective."

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