Spanish champions Real Madrid travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray on Tuesday evening, in the second leg of the clubs' Champions League quarter final tie. The nine-time champions of Europe have a commanding 3-1 lead from the first match in the Santiago Bernabeu and will be heavy favourites, an intimidating local atmosphere notwithstanding, to go through to the semi finals.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 7.45pm BST. Live coverage is on ITV and ITV HD. Catch highlights on UEFA Champions League Extra Time, on the same channels, at 10.35pm BST.
Galatasaray bounced back from a poor performance in Spain to beat bottom-of-the-table Mersin IY 3-1 at home, in preparation of Madrid's visit. Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba, who lifted the Champions League with his last kick as a Chelsea player last season, was in excellent from, scoring twice in the final 20 minutes, to add to a Felipe Melo penalty on the hour mark, to overturn a shock third-minute lead for the visitors.
The Turks have won four of their last five games in all competitions and scored at least twice in each of those four wins. They will have to do much better, though, if they want to overturn the deficit to Jose Mourinho's men; particularly since they have the worst scoring and defensive record of the sides still left in the tournament, with 11 scored and 12 conceded.
Galatasaray will have to attack. There is no other option. Unfortunately for Fatih Terim, this plays right into the hands of Madrid, who use the pace of Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil to devastating effect on the counter; Levante, the Spaniards' weekend opponents, will testify to that.
As Mourinho said after the game in Spain, if his side can score even once in Turkey, it leaves their hosts with the nearly impossible task of having to score five times! And given Los Blancos have only been shut-out four times this season (not since early February and never in Europe), you would have to bank on Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema hitting the back of the net.
Madrid, like Galatasaray, had to come back from a goal down, against Levante, to win their weekend league match. The excellent Michel led a clinical attack on the half-hour mark, found left-back Marcelo out of position and slotted it past a helpless Diego Lopez in goal. Higuain, Kaka, Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil cranked up the pressure and Levante fell 5-1, with the German bagging a brace.
The win means Madrid have won 11 of 12 games, across all competitions, since the shocking 1-0 defeat to Granada on 2 February. Galatasaray should be worried, if they are not already.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W L W W W
- Last Match: Galatasaray 3 - 1 Mersin IY
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W D W W
- Last Match: Real Madrid 5 - 1 Levante
The hosts' problems have only been exacerbated with the loss of leading goal scorer Burak Yilmaz. The Turk striker picked up a yellow card at the Bernabeu and is suspended for this leg. Centre-back Dany Nounkeu is similarly unavailable. The good news, though, is winger-turned left-back Albert Riera and vice-captain and attacking midfielder Selcuk Inan are both fresh and ready after sitting out the weekend game.
The central midfield trio of Melo and ex-Madrid midfielders Wesley Sneijder and Hamit Altintop have a very important role to play, particularly in the absence of Xabi Alonso for the visitors. If Melo and Altintop can somehow ensure Sami Khedira, Ozil and Luka Modric are kept quiet, then Sneijder will have time to orchestrate attacks.
Probable Line-Up: Muslera; Eboue, Kaya, Zan, Riera; Melo; Altintop, Sneijder; Inan; Drogba, Bulut
Madrid will be without centre-back Sergio Ramos and midfielder Alonso, both of whom are absolutely critical players, as they serve a one-match suspension for three yellow cards. However, in Raphael Varane and Modric, they have able replacements.
With the return to training of captain Iker Casillas, the visitors will have a full-strength squad available. Unfortunately for Casillas and his fans, such has been Lopez's form in goal the Madrid talisman will have to wait for his chance to be No 1 again.
Expect Mourinho to revert to his most potent line-up in Turkey, which means Ozil, Khedira, Di Maria and Ronaldo will all start.
It will be interesting, though, to see if on-loan Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien returns to right-back. The Ghana man played there in the first leg and in an away game, in what will be a hostile environment, he may be preferred again.
Probable Line-Up: Lopez; Essien, Varane, Pepe, Coentrao; Khedira, Modric; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain