Galatasaray vs. Schalke: 5 Players to Watch in Wednesday's CL Match
On Wednesday, Galatasaray face Schalke at the Türk Telekom Arena. This game brings together one side in very good form, sitting comfortably at the top of the Super Lig, and another team that haven't won in four games and are 27 points off first place in the Bundesliga.
While Galatasaray have been much better than Schalke domestically, the Germans have much more recent experience in Europe than their Turkish opponents.
The Royal Blues had an amazing run in the 2010-11 Champions League campaign in which they reached the semifinal. The next year, Schalke played 14 times in the Europa League before being knocked out in the quarterfinals. On the other hand, Galatasaray haven't moved past the Round of 16 of either European cup since 2001.
Here's a list of five players to watch on Wednesday.
It will certainly be great seeing the Ivorian back in European action, and it'll be very interesting to see how he plays. The 34-year-old showed why Galatasaray invested so much money in him when he came off the bench and scored in his first league match last week.
Schalke's defense has been inconsistent this season, and Drogba could pose huge problems to the German side.
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Michel Bastos joined Schalke on loan in January and already has three goals in as many games. However, two of those matches ended as losses while one finished as a draw.
Bastos has given Schalke a needed boost on the left wing, but the German side are still failing in domestic competition. Nonetheless, the Royal Blues have made a habit of flopping in the Bundesliga and then shining in European matches.
On Wednesday, Bastos, who is eligible to play in the Champions League despite his involvement in Lyon's Europa League games, will have the chance to make an impact on the world stage.
While many fans will focus their attention on Didier Drogba in this match, it would be foolish to forget about Burak Yilmaz.
The Turkish striker scored six times in the group stage, including the only goal in Galatasaray's vital win against Manchester United. If it was not for Yilmaz, the "Yellow-Reds" would probably have been knocked out of the competition.
I expect yet another good performance from the 27-year-old on Wednesday.
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Semih Kaya is just 21 years old but has established himself as a starter in the Galatasaray first team. The Turkish international will almost certainly start at center-back and will need to be at his best to defend against Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Kaya played in 30 of Galatasaray's 34 matches when they won the league last year and will be eager to advance as far as possible in the Champions League.
On Wednesday, he will have the difficult task of keeping Schalke's attack at bay.
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Last season, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was considered one of the best strikers in the world. The Dutch international scored an outstanding 48 goals in 48 appearances with 14 goals in 12 European matches.
This year, Huntelaar has looked way off his best. The former Ajax man has scored five times in 19 Bundesliga games and 11 total goals in 25 match-ups.
Nonetheless, Galatasaray will be very worried about the Hunter. The 6'1'' striker, while off his best, still scored four goals in the Champions League group stage. The Dutchman has shown that, even on a bad day, he is one of the most prolific strikers in Europe