Southampton Football Club is pleased to announce matches against European sides FC Schalke 04, Beşiktaş, Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad as part of its pre-season preparations for the forthcoming Barclays Premier League campaign.
The squad returns to Staplewood on Monday 1st July for the start of pre-season training before travelling to Spain for a training camp, which features friendlies against local opposition known well to First Team Manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Based in Catalunya, north-eastern Spain, the training camp forms part of a considered approach to building up match fitness after the summer break.
The First Team will play their first friendly of pre-season when they travel to Palafrugell to take on UE Llagostera on Wednesday 17th July and then facing Palamós CF on Saturday 20th July.
Following those matches, Saints will then travel to the picturesque Wörthersee region of Austria to use the Stadion Lind in Villach to play Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 on Wednesday 24th July, and Turkish outfit Beşiktaş on Saturday 27th July.
After returning to Southampton, the side will again head to Spain on 3rd August to take on La Liga side Celta Vigo.
The conclusion of the pre-season schedule will take place on Saturday 10th August as Spanish club Real Sociedad visit St Mary’s for Saints’ final friendly ahead of the 2013/14 campaign, which gets underway the following weekend.
Ticket details for all pre-season fixtures will be communicated via saintsfc.co.uk
in due course.
Full First Team pre-season schedule
Monday 1st July
First Team squad reports back to Staplewood
Wednesday 17th July (7pm local time)
UE Llagostera vs Southampton – Estadi Josep Pla i Arbonès, Spain
Saturday 20th July (7pm local time)
Palamós CF vs Southampton – Nou Estadi Municipal de Palamós, Spain
Wednesday 24th July (6pm local time)
Southampton vs FC Schalke 04 – Stadion Villach Lind, Austria
Saturday 27th July (5pm local time)
Southampton vs Beşiktaş J.K. – Stadion Villach Lind, Austria
Saturday 3rd August (8pm local time)
Celta Vigo vs Southampton – Estadio Municipal de Balaídos
Saturday 10th August (3pm BST)
Southampton vs Real Sociedad – St Mary’s
In Profile – 2013 Pre-Season Opponents
Unió Esportiva Llagostera
Originally founded in 1947 as Unió Deportiva Llagostera, the Catalan club has had a spell of relative success since adopting their current name in 2004.
After winning promotion from the eighth tier the Club hasn’t looked back and have stormed their way through the Spanish football pyramid all the way to the third tier, where they currently reside in the Segunda B – Group 3.
Llagostera’s home ground is the Estadi Municipal, however, due to the 1,500 capacity ground having an artificial surface Saints’ first pre-season fixture will take place at the Estadi Josep Pla i Arbonès in nearby Palafrugell.
Mauricio Pochettino is no stranger to the Catalan club, having visited with his Espanyol side in July 2011 when his men picked up a comfortable 2-1 victory.
Palamós Club de Futbol, S.A.D.
Founded in 1898, Palamós is the oldest football club in Catalonia and indeed one of the longest running in the whole of Spain.
Having been promoted from the Primera Catalana last summer, Palamós spent the 2012/13 campaign in the Tercera División, which is the fourth level of the Spanish football pyramid.
They ended the season in 12th position in Group 5, comfortably retaining their fourth-tier status for next year.
Palamós play their games at the Nou Estadi Municipal, which has a capacity of around 8,000 and sits close to the Costa Brava with views of the Balearic Sea.
As with Llagostera, Pochettino has taken on Palamós before while in charge at Espanyol, visiting the Nou Estadi Municipal ahead of the 2010/11 and 2011/12 campaigns.
FC Schalke 04
German giants Schalke finished the 2012/13 Bundesliga campaign in fourth spot, qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
The Gelsenkirchen-based side reached the last 16 of the Champions League this year having made it to the semi-finals in 2010/11. They were also UEFA Europa League semi-finalists in 2011/12.
Schalke have won the German championship seven times, and finished as runners-up on a further nine occasions.
They have won the DFB-Pokal – Germany’s national knock-out tournament – five times, including one in 2011 plus a further two since the turn of the millennium. Schalke also picked up the DFB-Ligapokal – or League Cup – in 2005 and the UEFA Cup in 1997.
In his squad, coach Jens Keller currently boasts the likes of Germany internationals Julian Draxler and Benedikt Höwedes, current top goalscorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, as well as highly-rated Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulous.
Also currently plying his trade at the Veltins-Arena is Japanese right-back Atsuto Uchida, who regularly lines up for his national team alongside Saints defender Maya Yoshida.
Southampton and Schalke have met before, during the 1980 Rotterdam Tournament. Saints won that game 7-2 courtesy of braces from Charlie George and Kevin Keegan plus further goals from Chris Nicholl, Mick Channon and Nick Holmes.
Istanbul-based Beşiktaş boast a rich history, having won the Turkish Süper Lig 13 times, with their most recent league title coming in 2008/09,
Kara Kartallar won the Turkish Cup for the ninth time that season, and have also lifted the Turkish Super Cup on eight occasions.
Robert Prosinecki’s side finished the 2012/13 season third in the Süper Lig, narrowly missing out on a place in next year’s Champions League but sealing a spot in the Europa League.
Their current squad includes Portugal international forward Hugo Almeida, former Arsenal youngster Oğuzhan Özyakup and Turkish national team defender Ibrahim Toraman.
Beşiktaş’s current number-one goalkeeper is Scotland international Allan McGregor, who was a long-time teammate of Saints midfielder Steven Davis during their time at Glasgow Rangers.
Real Club Celta de Vigo, S.A.D.
Having returned to La Liga in 2012 after an absence of five years, Os Célticos had something of a unsettled season last term, replacing Head Coach Paco Herrera with Abel Resino in February before he in turn was replaced by former Real Madrid and Barcelona star Luis Enrique in June.
Enrique will be a familiar face to Saints goalkeeping coach, Toni Jiménez, as the pair played together in Spain’s gold-winning squad at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
After only confirming their survival in the Spanish top flight on the final day of the 2012/13 season, Enrique will be looking to push on and achieve the type of results that saw Vigo qualify for the Champions League back in 2003/04 where they were eventually eliminated by Arsenal.
Vigo play their home games in the 31,800 capacity Balaídos which was used to host Italy’s group games in the 1982 FIFA World Cup.
Real Sociedad de Fútbol, S.A.D.
Saints’ final pre-season opponents look likely to be their strongest, with Spanish Real Sociedad having just finished fourth in La Liga to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
After a tricky start to the 2012/13 campaign left them fourth-bottom in early November, the San Sebastián-based side put together a stunning run of form that saw them lose just two of their latter 27 league fixtures.
A final-day victory away at Deportivo La Coruña was enough to lift Erreala into the Champions League play-off spot, meaning they will take part in Europe’s main club cup competition for the first time since 2003/04, when they reached the last 16.
Sociedad have won La Liga twice, recording back-to-back league successes in 1980/81 and 1981/82. They also finished runners up in 1979/80, 1987/88 and 2002/03, and lifted the Copa del Rey in 1909 and 1987 plus Supercopa de España in 1982.
The txuri-urdin recently promoted its former assistant manager Jagoba Arrasate to the top job after previous incumbent Philippe Montanier agreed to join French side Rennes this summer after two years at the Anoeta Stadium.
Sociedad’s current leading light is Carlos Vela, the former Arsenal striker who initially headed to San Sebastián on loan in 2011 before making his move permanent last summer.