Schalke vs. Galatasaray: Complete Champions League Preview

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Schalke vs. Galatasaray: Complete Champions League Preview
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Schalke will host Galatasaray in the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 encounter on Tuesday night with the score intriguingly balanced at 1-1 after the sides' opening clash.

The German side will go into the tie knowing they have secured themselves a potentially crucial away goal in Turkey, but they will be without star forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for the return encounter. Teemu Pukki is expected to deputise for the injured star.

The match will also see the return of former Schalke star Hamit Altintop to Gelsenkirchen, who played for the club between 2003 and 2007. This time, though, he will be looking to dent the Germans' undefeated record at home against Turkish opposition.

Galatasaray must either clinch a draw or win in the Veltins Arena in order to progress, but they know that they face a tough task against one of just three unbeaten sides in this year's competition.

The Turks can, of course, call upon the services of recent recruit and 2011-12 Champions League winner Didier Drogba in their quest for glory, along with 2009-10 champion Wesley Sneijder. Two of the side's three European wins this season have also come away from home.

Schalke last made the quarterfinal stage in 2010-11, when they reached the semifinal. For Galatasaray, it would be a first visit since the 2000-01 season.

 

Location: Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Time: Tuesday 12 March, 19.45 GMT

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)

Aggregate Score: 1-1

 

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Huntelaar is a notable absentee for Schalke

Notable absentees: 

Schalke - Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (knee), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (knee), Jermaine Jones (suspended)

Galatasaray - Tomas Ujfalusi (knee)

 

Form Guide (Last five matches):

Schalke - Three wins, two draws (WWWDD).

Galatasaray - Two wins, two draws, one loss. (WDWDL).

 

Key Battle: Michel Bastos vs. Sabri Sarioglu

Brazilian winger Michel Bastos has made an immediate impact since arriving at Schalke in January and, in the absence of striker Huntelaar, will have to take on an even greater responsibility against Galatasaray.

Turkey right-back Sabri was included above Emmanuel Eboue for the first-leg encounter and will likely be chosen again for the role since he managed to subdue Bastos.

With three goals in his first six league games since arriving in Germany, Bastos will need to be closely monitored throughout. If not, it could be a long night for both Sabri and his Galatasaray colleagues.

 

Key Player: Benedikt Howedes (Schalke)

Schalke captain Howedes will need to be on his game against Galatasaray, as the Turkish side's strike partnership of Burak Yilmaz and Drogba could potentially be decisive.

Howedes is widely regarded as one of the best young centre-backs in the European game, and his esteem within the German national team setup is reflective of that fact. Guiding Schalke deep into the Champions League would only boost that reputation.

He will need every ounce of his maturity and physicality to deal with Drogba in particular on Tuesday night, but there is little to suggest that he will not come up trumps when required.

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
Sneijder was a Champions League winner with Inter Milan in 2010

 

Predicted Lineups:

SchalkeHildebrand; Uchida, Howedes, Matip, Kolasinac; Hoger, Neudstater; Farfan, Draxler, Michel Bastos; Pukki.

GalatasarayMusleraSabri, Semih, Nounkeu, RieraHamit, Melo, SelcukSneijderBurak, Drogba.

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