Galatasaray will welcome Real Madrid to Turkey this week for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal with plenty of work to do.
The Turkish giants slumped to a 3-0 defeat in their opening leg against Los Blancos, and are seemingly in a very difficult position if they're going to progress to the semifinals—especially given the attacking talent and form that Madrid are currently in.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been on an absolute tear in the tournament this year, and will be looking to continue that success when he takes the field here.
Galatasaray do have a number of talented players on hand that are capable of scoring goals, but they do appear to have a very big task ahead of them.
Still, this is the Champions League, and anything can happen—as we've seen so far this year—so the home side can't be counted out of this one.
Will Madrid consolidate on their big lead coming into this one or are we set to see one of the most memorable Champions League comebacks ever?
Read on for a full preview of this quarterfinal including all the need-to-know details, live viewing information, analysis and last-minute predictions.
Date: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Start time: 2:45 p.m. ET (Eastern time, United States)
Venue: Turk Telekom Arena, Galatasaray, Turkey
Live Stream and TV Information
According to Live Soccer TV, SiriusXM FC, Fox Soccer Channel and FOX Deportes will all provide coverage of this match throughout the United States.
2012-13 Champions League so Far
W3, D1, L2
(Seven goals for, six against)
W3, D2, L1
(15 goals for, eight against)
|Round of 16||
W1, D1, L0 vs. Schalke
(Four goals for, three against)
W1, D1, L0 vs. Manchester United
(Three goals for, two against)
W0, D0, L1 vs. Real Madrid
(Zero goals for, three against)
W1, D0, L0 vs. Galatasaray
(Three goals for, zero against)
Key Player to Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
Ronaldo is always the biggest player to watch for Madrid whenever they take the field, but he has been particularly impressive in the Champions League this season—netting goals in his last four games to take his total for the tournament to nine goals.
The superstar winger has thrived again for Jose Mourinho this season and has lead Madrid from the front—not buckling under the weight of expectation that's seemingly upon him every single week.
With the league title all but over and the Copa del Rey final still ages away, Ronaldo can concentrate solely on this tournament and playing well here.
He was rested for the final 45 minutes against Levante on the weekend—a pattern that Mourinho has adopted more and more as the Champions League has progressed. And given the statistics, it's a strategy that should see some big things for Ronaldo and Madrid here.
Biggest Storyline to Follow: How Big will the Home Advantage Be?
Galatasaray's attacking play didn't come off against Madrid at the Bernabeu and they now travel back home with a very tough ask ahead of them. Truth be told, it's one that they simply will not come back from and will surely lose this quarterfinal because of.
That said, with nothing to lose, expect the Turkish giants to be in full attacking mode here as they seek to close the three-goal gap to Madrid.
And they should find that much easier than on the road, for the home advantage should provide huge assistance for Galatasaray. Their current stadium is very loud, and as various teams can attest to, is a formidable venue to travel in football.
The Turkish giants have conceded just 18 goals at home in all competition this year (18 matches) and will likely produce a strong performance here.
Whether it will be enough to get them over the line still remains to be seen, but there's little doubting that the Turk Telekom Arena will give them a big advantage over Madrid, who've shown vulnerability away from home in all competitions this season.
Three Stats to Consider
0. Real Madrid have never won in Turkey in European competition.
23. Galatasaray and Real Madrid have combined for the most goals conceded out of the eight remaining teams in the tournament this year with 23. Galatasaray have conceded 12 while Madrid have conceded 11 through their games so far.
73. Burak Yilmaz has scored 73 percent of Galatasaray's goals in the Champions League, and has scored 26 goals in total for the club this year. He'll miss this game due to a yellow card suspension.
Despite the home advantage, it seems almost impossible to think that Galatasaray would be able to come back here.
Real Madrid have been incredibly switched-on in the tournament this year, and showed in the first leg that they possess the attacking and defensive skills needed to beat their opponents—most of which they'll likely show again throughout this one.
Both teams are missing a number of key players, which will affect their chances respectively, with the loss of Yilmaz a bitter blow for Galatasaray. They do have other attacking options, but none have been as effective as he has this year, and they'll dearly miss him in this one.
Madrid's defense will come under fire and should concede a goal in this one, as they have done so throughout most of the tournament so far.
Yet given their attack, and a rested Ronaldo, expect Madrid to score more goals in this one and walk away with a big aggregate victory.
Los Blancos will go through to the semifinals in dominant fashion whilst Galatasaray will leave the tournament incredibly proud of what they achieved.
Final score: Galatasaray 1, Real Madrid 2
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