Galatasaray v Schalke 04
UEFA Champions League
Turk Telekom Arena, Istanbul
Wednesday 20 February, 2013
Galatasaray have their work cut out if they are to secure a first leg lead in this last 16 Champions League tie against Schalke. Schalke have very recent experience of the later stages of this tournament, plus their home advantage in the second leg gives them a big boost.
The Turkish side are sitting pretty at the top of their league with a very impressive home record of seven wins, two draws and a single defeat. They will be confident after qualifying out of the group stage behind Manchester United.
They have only lost three league games all season, and the presence of Didier Drogba (eligible for the Champions League and already a top-seller in Prostar and Galatasaray shirts) will strengthen them even further in Europe.
Injuries and Suspensions
Defender Tomas Ujfalusi is likely to miss the match after suffering a bad gash in the middle of last month. Otherwise the Turkish league leaders have a fully fit squad of players to choose from, which means they can go all out for a first leg advantage which will be vital.
The home side are just the right side of evens at 5/4 to win this match.
Schalke 04 Preview
Schalke are a million miles off the pace in the Bundesliga as they currently sit in ninth place. Their away form this season has not been good with two wins, four draws and five defeats pegging them back. However, they have conceded the same number of goals as Bayer Leverkusen in third place.
Injuries and Suspensions
Schalke have been plagued by injuries in the build up to this game. Goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall won’t play with a knee problem and defender Astuto Uchida has also been ruled out. Christoph Moritz will not play again this season with a knee injury while Ibrahim Afellay has a muscle strain. Ciprian Marica is expected to return at the end of the month. Raffael is ineligible for this match.
Schalke are 12/5 to win if you think they can overcome this mountain of injuries.
Galatasaray v Schalke 04 Statistics
The Turkish side finished second behind Manchester United with ten points. They won three matches, drew one and lost two. Galatasaray had the exact same defensive record as United during the group stage conceding six goals.
Schalke won their group ahead of Arsenal without losing a single game; three wins and three draws. They scored ten goals which was the same as Arsenal but conceded only six which was two fewer.
Head to Head
There is no head to head summary of past meetings available for these two sides. The Turkish club are in a better domestic position but Schalke have to raise their game as winning this tournament is the only way they can qualify for it next year.
Galatasaray have been fairly consistent over their last five matches with three wins, one draw and one defeat. They have only kept one clean sheet in their last five matches but have scored eight goals in the process.
Schalke have won only one of their last five games which was a game they conceded four goals in. They have lost two and drawn two out of their other games which includes a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Galatasaray v Schalke 04 Prediction
The Turkish side have all of the form and momentum heading into this match and the injuries Schalke have could cost them. Expect a solid Galatasaray win, anything else would be a catastrophe for them.
Prediction: Galatasaray 2-0 Schalke
Also see: AC Milan v Barcelona Preview