After a goalless draw last week, FC Schalke 04 have a golden opportunity to reach the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League when they host Shakhtar Donetsk in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday (kick-off 19:00CET/18:00GMT).

The tie is poised on a knife edge ahead of the second leg and without the insurance of an away goal, the Royal Blues will have to be particularly watchful at the back this time out, with a score draw enough to knock Andre Breitenreiter's side out of the tournament.

Read: Shakhtar 0-0 Schalke match report

"Shakhtar will definitely sit back and try to play quickly on the counter attack," said Schalke director of sport and communications Horst Heldt. "We have to dictate the game and try to score ourselves."

Schalke are still without Benedikt Höwedes, Marco Höger and Matija Nastasic, while Leon Goretzka and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Mouting are also doubts. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is available for this one, though, after the young Dane sat out the first leg through suspension.

Watch: Schalke 1-1 Stuttgart MD22 highlights

Match stats

  • Schalke are yet to lose at home in Europe this season, having won two and drawn one of their three games at the VELTINS Arena so far.
  • Die Königsblauen have only conceded three goals in the tournament so far.
  • This is Shakhtar's third appearance in the Round of 32 since they won the competition by beating SV Werder Bremen in the final in Istanbul in 2009. The Ukrainians have failed to progress at both of the last two attempts.
  • The Ukrainian team lost all three of their away games in UEFA competition this season, without scoring a single goal.
  • New Schalke signing Younes Belhanda has scored in his last two Bundesliga games.
  • Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is one goal away from scoring 50 goals in UEFA club competitions.
  • Shakhtar have won only two of the eight games they have ever played on German soil. They have lost five times in Germany.
  • Mircea Lucescu's Shakhtar knocked out a Schalke side coached by Ralf Rangnick in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32, coming out 1-0 winners at the VELTINS after a 1-1 draw in Donetsk.

Possible line-ups

Schalke: Fährmann - Caicara, Matip, Neustädter, Kolasinac - Höjbjerg, Geis - Sane, Meyer, Belhanda - Huntelaar

Shakhtar: Pyatov - Srna, Kryvtsov, Rakitsky, Ismally - Malyshev, Stepanenko - Marlos, Kovalenko, Talson - Gladky