Weinzierl waiting on Europa draw

Schalke 04 boss Markus Weinzierl is eagerly awaiting the draw for the last-16 of the Europa League after securing qualification on Wednesday night.

The Bundesliga side claimed a 4-1 aggregate win over Greek Superleague side PAOK after a 1-1 draw in their second-leg tie at the VELTINS-Arena where a Matija Nastasi own-goal on 25 minutes cancelled out Alessandro Schopf's 23rd-minute opener.

After the game, a content Weinzierl told the club's official website: "We are pleased because we have qualified for the next round with minimal complication. That was our aim before the match. It was admittedly not the same standard of performance as last time, but we knew that we had a comfortable advantage with the 3-0 lead from the first leg. Perhaps that played a role in our approach.

"PAOK played as we expected them to – they have good players to play on the counter, but we played with good confidence at home. Now we are hoping for a good draw on Friday. 

"Every opposition that we can get will offer a big challenge; there are no easy games at this stage. 

PAOK manager Vladimir Ivic was, meanwhile, naturally disappointed with his side's elimination, and explained: "After two games, we have a 4-1 loss overall, so we are out of the competition. 

"The first leg result had a big impact on today's game. We conceded early in that game and ended up conceding two more in the last ten minutes. It left Schalke with a big lead in the second leg and we could not overcome that."

He added: "We will learn from our Europa League experience this season. We were not outclassed in either leg. We stayed disciplined and had few issues for long spells. My players showed good character and that is important for us."

The draw takes place on Friday, February 24 in Nyon and starts at 12pm GMT.

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