Spanish giants Real Madrid will be hosting Turkish club Galatasaray on Wednesday April 4 at the Bernebeau in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal matchup. Madrid, vouched by Portugal’s Jose Mourinho, boast one of the world’s greatest players in his fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Turkish side will have to keep him off of the score sheet if they hope to escape the country with all three points.
Ronaldo already scored at a goal-per game rate with his club this season with 28 goals in 28 matches. He’s also banged home eight more in eight Champions League contests, which is tops in the tournament. He’s certainly helped out by some of Madrid’s other star players such as Mesut Ozil, Luka, Modric, Karim Benzema, Pepe, and Kaka. The most dangerous player on Galatasaray at the moment is likely former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.
WilliamHill.com has the latest odds of a Real Madrid win at 2/11 with a Galatasaray victory at 14/1 and a draw at 11/2
However, the Turkish side certainly isn’t just a one-man team as Dutch midfield star Wesley Sneijder also joined the club in January and Burak Yilmaz is the squad’s leading goal scorer with eight Champions League goals. Galatasaray w8ll be no pushovers and could certainly give Madrid more than they can handle. The Spanish side will try to end this tie in the first match as they know it’ll be tough to get a win in Istanbul in the return leg next week. They’ll want to get a decent lead here at home and hope to hang onto it on the road.
That could lead to some trouble though since Galatasaray is pretty good on the counter attack. Madrid’s defence will need to be tight to look after Yilmaz and Drogba as they have sometimes put in some shaky defensive performances so far this season. Madrid is hoping to make it to the semi-final stage in the European Cup for a record 24 consecutive times here.
Mourinho is pleased that he doesn’t have any injury concerns for the game as defenders Fabio Coentrao and Raphael Varane have returned from injury. Also, look for keeper Iker Casillas to remain on the bench while Diego Lopez should get the start in goal. Madrid is going into this match after a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Zaragoza. Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim also has a full squad to choose from other than Tomas Ujfalusi, who’s out with a knee injury.
Madrid has four wins and a draw in their past five matches overall while Galatasaray has three wins, a loss and a draw. Madrid hasn’t lost in their last 37 home matches, going back to January of 2012. Thirty of those have been wins. They’ve scored 18 times in the Champions League tournament this season, which is tied for the most with Germany’s Bayern Munich. Galatasaray has managed to win 10 out of their past 18 games on the road in Europe and have lost just a pair of them. They’ve also beaten Real Madrid twice in three previous meetings.
It’s easy to pick Madrid at home, but Galatasaray give them problems and this game could certainly end in a draw.