Gelsenkirchen - He may have struck a tidy brace in Saturday's 2-2 draw at 1. FSV Mainz 05 but after FC Schalke 04's fourth straight match without a win, Brazilian star Michel Bastos was far from satisfied.
"I'd much rather have won than score two goals because I still haven't been able to celebrate since joining the club," said the 29-year-old, who has now scored three goals in as many Bundesliga games since joining on loan from French club Olympique Lyonnais during the winter break.
"Anyone who scores three goals in three games for Schalke - that's not a bad buy," said head coach Jens Keller of his prized No9. Goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand added: "You saw today what a great finisher he is. He's just so difficult to defend against and he fits in really well."
Fellow Brazilian and January loan recruit Raffael has likewise taken to life the Veltins-Arena and it was Schalke's Samba duo who, in the absence of a recognized striker, combined to great effect to get their side back on level terms against Mainz, before Bastos struck again with a trademark strike for 2-2.
"That's twice now we've come from behind and we want to use that to our advantage in Istanbul," explained USA international midfielder Jermaine Jones, looking ahead to Wednesday night's UEFA Champions League Round of 16. "It was a really important step today," continued Roman Neustädter. "We've shown the right attitude today and the sort of heart and passion we'll be taking to Istanbul."
As for Max Meyer, the 17-year-old starlet who laid on a debut assist for Bastos at the weekend, sporting director Horst Heldt is well aware of the talent Schalke have on their hands: "We've already cleared it up with his [Meyer's] school - he'll be coming with us to Istanbul."
Tobias Schächter and Christopher Mayer-Lodge