Sergei Palkin: Schalke are strong opponents, but we can beat them

Shakhtar CEO reflects on the Europa League Round of 32 draw.

- Sergei, Shakhtar had many representatives of the Bundesliga as their opponents: Bayern, Dortmund-based Borussia, Bayer and now Schalke...
- Back in the past, quite long ago, we already encountered Schalke. I perfectly remember it: we claimed a 1-0 away win against them, with Aghahowa netting a fantastic goal. I think we should act in the same vein. They are the strong team. According to the UEFA rankings, Schalke have been in the lead among the draw participants. In general, the German league is one of the strongest in Europe. We must play and win! The opponents are strong, but I think we can beat them.

- You often feel something before the draw. Did you feel anything this time?
- Unfortunately, I didn’t. He talked to Mister, I thought that he might prompt me something. But he said: ‘Enough, after getting Real Madrid and PSG I won’t give you any more tips.’

- Have there been any clubs, who you wouldn’t like to meet at this stage?
- Of course. That’s clear for anyone: Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, the same Napoli, who defeated everyone in their group. There were quite many clubs, whom we didn’t really want to encounter.

- Taking it separately, Shakhtar vs Schalke is quite a Champions League match.
- The strong teams will be meeting! There are no trifles in football, and it will also be very important in our games. Therefore, we must treat the games very responsibly, focus on them and advance further.

- What are Shakhtar’s ambitions for the Europa League? Now you know the opponents: how should they prepare for the encounter with them?
- We have only one ambition – to win, to progress as far as possible and win this competition. It makes no sense just to participate in the Europa League – currently we have a different level. If you get there, you must win it.

- Does the team staffing allow you to resolve such tasks, or you should work in the transfer market in winter?
- We believe that in terms of staff, we are fully staffed. We have serious competition within every role.

- Did you decide at the club where to hold the first leg? As well as the rest of them if you make it further?
- The first match will take place in Lviv. The second leg will take place away, because we were among the unseeded teams, who are to play the first game at home.