Schalke manager Jens Keller is hoping his side can salvage some pride from their Champions League last 16, second leg, away to Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Keller admitted the Germans have no chance of progressing to the quarter-finals after being on the receiving end of a 6-1 thrashing at home in the first leg three weeks ago.
However, he wants his young side to prove they are capable of competing at the highest level when they face Real’s stars once more at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“It is the Champions League and it is last 16. We are already eliminated by a bad result in the first leg, but it is a great experience for the players to play here,” Keller told a pre-match press conference on Monday.
“It is a step forward in the players’ development and we will try to have a better result than in the first leg. We have a young team and this match can be a great learning experience for them.”
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed earlier on Monday that he would rest some of his first-team regulars with a huge La Liga clash against Barcelona to come on Sunday.
And with the Royal Blues still in a battle to secure Champions League qualification for next season from the Bundesliga, Keller suggested he could also field a weakened team.
“We are thinking that maybe there are players carrying injuries who will not play, but I don’t have a lot of options to rotate too much.
“I will give the youngsters this great opportunity to learn.”
Just four days after their hammering by Madrid in Gelsenkirchen, Schalke were also swept aside 5-1 by German champions-elect Bayern Munich.
Keller acknowledged there were plenty of similarities between Madrid and Bayern and highlighted them as he favourites to win this year’s Champions League.