Schalke coach Huub Stevens sang the praises of his side after they defeated Maccabi Haifa 3-1 last night on his first game back in his second spell at Die Königsblauen. The win gives Schalke a good chance of reaching the next stage of the UEFA Europa League and Stevens admitted he could not have wished for a better start on his return to the helm of the Gelsenkirchen-based club.
"In the end, I think we deserved this win, even by this margin," he said on the club's website. "For that, I would like to pay the team a compliment. For me personally it was an emotional day. Returning to the Arena was something really special. I knew what to expect. The lift the fans give you is huge and they were right behind the team."
Haifa coach Elisha Levi was gracious in defeat, saying his side had met "one of the strongest teams in the Bundesliga." "Therefore, the game was not easy for us," he added. "Schalke won deservedly. We held our own with them for phases and we did not hide, and I am not disappointed with our performance. The pace was clearly higher than it is in the Israeli league."