GELSENKIRCHEN, April 14 – Schalke 04's veteran striker Raul said the German underdogs can afford to dream of the Champions League final after setting up a semi-final clash with giants Manchester United.
Schalke are in the last four of European football’s premier domestic competition for the first time in their history after knocking-out holders Inter Milan in Wednesday’s quarter-final.
Having won the first-leg 5-2 at Inter’s San Siro stadium last week, Schalke finished the job off with a 2-1 win at their Veltins Arena stadium.
"It is a special moment, it is the first time we are in the semi-finals in our history," said the 33-year-old Raul, who won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid.
"Nothing is impossible in football, so even against Manchester United, why can’t we dream of the final?"
Raul opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time on Wednesday to extend his record Champions League tally to 71 goals while Inter midfielder Thiago Motta levelled minutes after the restart.
Defender Benedikt Hoewedes put the matter beyond doubt with a late winner.
Having knocked out Valencia in the Round of 16 and now holders Inter on their way to the semi-finals, Raul said the sky is the limit for Germany’s Royal Blues with the final at Wembley on May 28.
"It’s an incredible situation, you have to see that Valencia thought they were going to win against us and then so did Inter," said Raul.
"I do hope Madrid get through to the final and we get to play against them, but we need to focus on the semi-final."
Inter coach Leonardo was gracious in defeat.
"Schalke deserved the win," said the Brazilian.
"They were the better team over the two legs and were were a bit tired, we have played a lot of football in the league and we showed it.
"They have a chance against Manchester United, it will depend on what happens on the day."
Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick warned his team will be underdogs against Manchester.
"The team has been rewarded with this victory, this is an extraordinary evening, but we will be underdogs against Manchester United," said Rangnick.
"The team has produced two great performances, if you only allow the Champions League winners just two chances, you know you have done well.
"Every player worked for his team-mates and that was the key to our success, the boys can be proud of their achievement."
Schalke will host United on April 26 in the first-leg of the semi-final, with the return leg at Old Trafford on May 4.