Rangnick: Inexperience makes us hungry
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Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick is convinced his side's relative inexperience will make them more hungry and passionate to win tomorrow's UEFA Champions League semi-final with Manchester United.

In contrast to United, who will be featuring in their 12th last-four clash, and hoping to make the final for a fifth time, Schalke have never graced this stage of European club football's most prestigious tournament.

Of Rangnick's squad, only legendary Spain striker Raul knows what he is going into. However, rather than view the position as a negative for his team's chances of reaching Wembley on 28 May, the Schalke coach views it as a pretty significant positive.

"Sir Alex Ferguson has more experience and has won many more trophies," he observed. "Manchester United do have a very experienced team, on average three to four years older than ours.

Maybe the fact we are more inexperienced means we are a really hungry team with more passion.
Ralf Rangnick, Schalke coach

"But maybe the fact we are more inexperienced means we are a really hungry team with more passion. It is something that makes this match all the more alluring for our team.

"Our players are in this position for the first time, with the exception of Raul, who might be there for the last time. We have to show what we can achieve and get the best out of it, so hopefully, this will be a benefit for us."

The game has particular significance for Rangnick as it takes the 52-year-old back to his youth. As a student in the late 1970s, he spent a year at Sussex University, regularly travelling to London to fulfil a lifelong passion for the beautiful game, either by watching Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal.

"It was a wonderful feeling to see the support for everything," he recalled today. "I am looking forward to the atmosphere, both tomorrow and at Old Trafford. In England you don't get situations where the fans whistle in displeasure. It is real support."

Metzelder expects tight tie
However, Rangnick is not so starstruck as to be deflected from a path that leads to the Champions League final. Since losing their opening group game to Lyon in September, Schalke remain unbeaten, winning every game on home soil.

The stand-out result was unquestionably the 5-2 destruction of holders Inter Milan at the quarter-final stage, setting up a victory they completed a week later. Raul contributed in both legs to cement his hero status during an effective debut campaign, after severing that emotional tie with Real Madrid.

"We have to be realistic," said defender Christoph Metzelder. "We will not score five against Manchester United. They are a very disciplined team, who do not let you have the opportunity to score goals. It will be two very tight games."