Real Madrid were far from impressive over the weekend, drawing 1-1 away to Real Zaragoza. They needed a first-half strike from Ronaldo to pick up a point. In truth, do they rely too much on the Portuguese winger who scored two of the team’s three goals against Manchester United in the Champions League Last 16?
The work rate of Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema is questionable. In Europe, the former is yet to register a goal while his French colleague last found the net against Manchester City in November 2012. The striking pair will need to step up this Wednesday.
In addition to being effective in attack, Los Blancos will be keen to keep their defensive lines clean. Galatasaray have Burak Yilmaz. The forward has been very decisive for his team. He shares the top spot with Ronaldo in the goalscorers chart with eight strikes. On Wednesday, Yilmaz is not the only player whom Real Madrid will need to take care of.
Galatasaray have UEFA Champions League medallists Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder in their roster. Both players have a good relationship with Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho and could exploit the affection in their favour. Their big-match experience will be key for the visitors at the Santiago Bernabeu. This tie looks as a perfect opportunity for January transfer signings Drogba and Sneijder to repay the faith of Galatasaray’s chiefs.
August 5, 2000: Real Madrid 3-2 Galatasaray (Club friendly)
August 25, 2000: Real Madrid 1-2 (aet) Galatasaray (UEFA Super Cup)
April 3, 2001: Galatasaray 3-2 Real Madrid (UEFA Champions League)
April 18, 2001: Real Madrid 3-0 Galatasaray (UEFA Champions League)
August 24, 2011: Real Madrid 2-1 Galatasaray (Club friendly)
March 10, 2013: Celta de Vigo 1-2 Real Madrid (La Liga)
March 16, 2013: Real Madrid 5-2 Mallorca (La Liga)
March 30, 2013: Zaragoza 1-1 Real Madrid (La Liga)
March 12, 2013: Schalke 04 2-3 Galatasaray (UEFA Champions League)
March 17, 2013: Kayserisport 1-3 Galatasaray (Super Lig)
March 30, 2013: Galatasaray 2-0 I. Buyuksehir (Super Lig)
Real Madrid will be more than happy to record a big win knowing how wild and hostile Galatasaray’s fans are at home. A perfect performance will be needed if the host are to avoid an upset. Los Blancos will probably go all out to attack but they might need the flair of goalkeeper Diego Lopez to end the night on a positive note.
Result: Real Madrid 3-1 Galatasaray