The odds are stacked firmly against PAOK following their comprehensive 3-0 first-leg defeat, although they can still target a noteworthy victory when this round of 32 tie concludes in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday.
• Guido Burgstaller’s first-half opener, followed by late strikes for Max Meyer and substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, set up Schalke to knock out their Greek rivals for a second time in four seasons.
• Huub Stevens’s Schalke eliminated Jens Keller’s PAOK in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League play-offs, winning 3-2 in Greece after a 1-1 first-leg draw, despite being reduced to ten men by Jermaine Jones’s 64th-minute red card.
• The teams for the Gelsenkirchen first leg on 21 August 2013 were:
Schalke: Hildebrand, Höwedes*, Meyer* (Clemens 69), Draxler, Höger (Goretzka* 77), Jones, Farfán (Pukki 87), Uchida*, Fuchs, Szalai, Matip.
PAOK: Jacobo, Tziolis, Lucas (Oliseh 90+1), Stoch, Salpingidis (Athanasiadis* 62), Miguel Vítor, Lino, Lawrence (Kaçe 62), Lazăr, Katsouranis, Kitsiou*.
*Registered to play for their club in this season’s group stage
• Schalke’s nine matches against Greek sides have ended W6 D1 L2 (W2 D1 L1 in Germany). They are unbeaten in the last seven of those encounters.
• PAOK’s record in ten games against German opponents is W2 D4 L4 (W1 D2 L1 in Germany).
• PAOK were victorious in their last two group stage fixtures – including an impressive 3-2 success at Fiorentina – but have won just two of their five European home matches this season (W2 D1 L2).
• Schalke won their first five group games and had already confirmed their round of 32 place when they lost their last fixture, 2-0 at Salzburg.
• PAOK last reached the round of 32 in 2013/14, losing home and away to Benfica without scoring. The nearest PAOK have come to lifting a major UEFA trophy was when they made the last eight of the 1973/74 European Cup Winners’ Cup. In total, they have played eight springtime UEFA matches without registering a victory (D3 L5).
• UEFA Cup winners in 1997, Schalke crashed 3-0 on aggregate to Shakhtar Donetsk at this stage of last season’s competition.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Gelsenkirchen to Salonika is around 1,700km.
• Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s 89th-minute strike at PAOK was his 50th in UEFA club competition.
• The Dutchman’s goal was also his 34th in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League combined, putting him just six short of all-time record scorer Henrik Larsson.
• Schalke’s 3-0 success at Stadio Toumba on 16 February was the 200th UEFA Europa League match played by a German club, equalling the high-water mark of Portugal.
• Schalke’s Yevhen Konoplyanka and PAOK’s Léo Matos appeared in the UEFA Europa League final together with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 2014/15.
• International team-mates:
Yevhen Konoplyanka (Schalke) Yevhen Shakhov (PAOK) – Ukraine
Sead Kolašinac (Schalke) Gojko Cimirot (PAOK) – Bosnia and Herzegovina.
• PAOK vice-captain Stelios Malezas played in Germany with Fortuna Düsseldorf (2012/13, 2013/14) while team-mate Giannis Mystakidis was a trainee at Hoffenheim and Freiburg before returning to Greece in 2014.
• Schalke (1997) are one of seven former UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League winners in the round of 32 along with Tottenham Hotspur (1972, 1984), Borussia Mönchengladbach (1975 1979), Anderlecht (1983), Ajax (1992), Zenit (2008) and Shakhtar (2009).
• The clubs have two former coaches in common: Gyula Lóránt and Stevens.
• Vladimir Ivić took charge at PAOK in March 2016 following a spell as the club’s youth coach. An attacking midfielder, he won three Serbian titles with Partizan and played for AEK Athens and Aris Thessaloniki before a four-season stint at PAOK.
• Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl progressed to last season’s UEFA Europa League round of 32 with Augsburg, whom he had led since 2012. His playing career peaked when he spent a season with the first-team squad at Bayern München in 1998/99, though he never played a senior match.