We're rapidly approaching Wembley, with the Champions League Quarter Finals just around the corner when Real Madrid host Tottenham and Schalke travels to Inter Milan. And already, many pundits have written off both Spurs and Schalke in their respective ties.
But is that fair on two teams who have already shown their worth by pulling off some of the biggest upsets in the tournament to reach the Quarters? In my opinion, no. And by saying this, I'm backing Spurs and Schalke to once again shock the footballing world and reach the Semi-Finals.
Here's how I visualize Inter Milan vs Schalke over the two legs:
For a few years now, Schalke has been steadily building to become a European powerhouse, much like Bayern Munich, their German counterparts. And this season, it all seemed to come unstuck with an inexcusable run of form in the Bundesliga that led to the sacking of manager, Felix Magath. But the German side have been a thousand times classier in the UEFA Champions League, having knocked out Valencia in the first knockout round in style and blitzing the group stage.
In Raul, Jefferson Farfan and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke have an explosive attacking lineup that has already scored 14 goals so far this campaign (1.75 per game). They will be facing a nervous Inter back line that has conceded 14 goals so far this campaign. Although, it would be fair to point out that most of those came during the brief reign of Rafael Benitez.
Meanwhile at the other end of the pitch, Schalke will be faced with the tough task of keeping out Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto'o. However, the Germans have a proven defensive record in the Champions League, having only conceded 5 goals so far, a statistic that makes them the fifth best defensive side in the Champions League. A lot of this achievement can be accredited to Goalkeeper, Manuel Neur, who gave his side a confidence boost mid-week by saying he will not move to Old Trafford.
Prediction: Inter has been far from impressive in the Champions League, only scraping home against Bayern Munich after being 3-1 down on aggregate. Schalke meanwhile, has been superb in defense and attack, boasting some of the best statistics in the UCL.
Final Score (Aggregate): Inter 2-3 Schalke