By ESPNSTAR.com staff
The Thais were distinctly impressive during their Group B campaign in Bangkok, winning all three of their match with displays that only served to reinforce why many observers are backing the War Elephants to add to their current haul of three regional titles.
Malaysia's start to the competition could not have been worse, a 3-0 defeat to arch rivals Singapore which had the reigning champions reeling on the ropes like a punch drunk boxer.
However, subsequent wins against Laos and Indonesia have helped Harimau Malaya regain some of their old swagger, a run of form that Schafer is all too aware of.
"I think that our chances of winning the game are 50-50," the German declared.
"Malaysia have a good team, they are playing at home and they have been playing well since their first game so is will not be easy.
"It will be a difficult match, but we have a good team and a good spirit and I think we have a good chance.
"We need a good result for the second leg in Bangkok, and I hope that come the end of the match we will have a good result," Schaefer added.
Thailand's chances of seizing the initiative in Kuala Lumpur have been boosted by news that midfield star Datsakorn Thonglao is fit to play in the Malaysian capital.
The Muangthong United dynamo has not played for his country since limping out of the Group B opener against the Philippines, but is now expected to take his place in Schafer's starting eleven.
"Our medical staff and our fitness coach have been working with Datsakorn and their analysis is positive," Schafer explained.
"His character is very good - he comes for training every day and he wants more training and better training and according to the doctor, he can play. He is a very good player and he is very important to us."
In the other semi-final first leg encounter, Singapore eked out a 0-0 draw in Manila against the Philippines on Saturday night.