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Schalke plotted shocking win
by Paul Kennedy, April 5th, 2011 7:19PM

TAGS:  germany, italy, uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] In the last round, Inter Milan became only the second club in the history of the UEFA Champions League to come back from a loss at home in the first leg to win a knockout series when it came back against Bayern Munich. It will have to do it again if it wants to keep its title defense alive, though this time against another German club, Schalke 04, it will be slightly tougher. The Nerazzurri dug themselves a deep hole with a stunning 5-2 loss at the San Siro. Recently appointed Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick admitted that he would have anyone declared crazy if they had said his team would win by that score.

"We are not in the semifinals just yet," said Rangnick, who replaced Felix Magath, "but we have a pretty big chance now. We know we have to digest this first, before we can fully appreciate it. Even at 3-2 and more so at 4-2 and after the second yellow for [Cristian] Chivu I was certain we would not lose anymore. In the end, we could have scored even more. It is surely the best game of my career. Had someone told us before the match that we would beat Inter by three goals, we would have had him declared crazy."

Rangnick said his team took heart from AC Milan's 3-0 win over Inter three days earlier and decided to attack Inter.

"We saw Saturday's game here," he said, "and how much space AC Milan was given so we decided to start with Jose Manuel Jurado, to play soccer. If you try to just defend against a team like Inter, you are asking for trouble. Still, the first half was incredible: it could have been 5-5 at halftime."

Schalke also had to overcome an incredible opening goal by Dejan Stankovic -- a 60-yard volley of Schalke goalie Manuel Neuer's attempted clearance -- and got two goals from Edu, one from Joel Matip and Raul and an Andrea Ranocchia own goal.

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