Kick Off: Tuesday 12th March
Live on TV: 7.45pm Sky Sports 2
Schalke entertain Galatasaray in the second-leg of their last 16 Champions League tie on Tuesday, and the Bundesliga outfit are in pole position to progress to the next round by virtue of the away goal they gained in Turkey last month.
Jens Keller will have been delighted with the 1-1 draw in Istanbul, the interim coach’s first taste of this competition as a manager, and Schalke are now unbeaten in five matches against Turkish opposition.
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The Konigsblauen haven’t enjoyed the best of seasons domestically, but they are very solid at the Veltins Arena and could hardly have wished for a better preparation for this match than by beating neighbours Borussia Dortmund at the weekend.
Galatasaray, meanwhile, were turned over in their latest domestic fixture on Friday. The Turks have, to their credit, prevailed in their last two away games in this tournament, but those victories were gained against lesser opposition in the shape of Cluj and Braga during the group stage.
In addition, Fatih Terim’s men have conceded in each of their last 11 on the road in the Champions League, and for all that they have plenty of firepower in their squad with the likes of Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder and Burak Yilmaz to call upon, they have scored fewer goals than any other side still in the competition.
Schalke will be without Klaas Jan-Huntelaar who picked up an injury against Dortmund, but otherwise Keller should be able to deploy a near full-strength starting XI. The German club are one of three sides that are still unbeaten in this season’s Champions League and I’m confidently expecting them to remain so following Tuesday’s second-leg.
Schalke have won their last three matches and on each occasion they were leading at the interval. Indeed, they tend to be quick off the blocks and at 2/1 with 888sport Schalke/Schalke in the half-time/full-time market rates a cracking bet.
Schalke/Schalke in the half-time/full-time market – 2/1 (888sport)