Kick Off: Wednesday 27th November
Live on TV: 7:45PM. Sky Sports 2.
Real Madrid will cement their qualification from Group B as long as they avoid defeat at home against Galatasaray.
The big news for the neutrals revolves around whether or not Cristiano Ronaldo will be selected following the thigh injury sustained in Saturday’s 5-0 hammering of Almeria.
Madrid’s number 7 was subbed out of that game and although he is contention there is a strong possibility that he will be rested due to Real’s dominant position in the Group B table. Nonetheless, the world’s greatest player will not be happy about missing out as he aims to continue his record breaking form in front of goal.
Real’s place in the last 16 is not yet finalised so we may yet see Ronaldo start and then taken off if Madrid can bring the contest to a premature end.
It won’t make as many headlines, but Galatasaray are also missing influential stars in Wesley Sneijder, Semih Kaya and Hamit Altintop.
GARETH BALE’S BIG CHANCE
Should Ronaldo miss out on the starting line-up then it could provide Gareth Bale with the opportunity to prove just how good he is.
The world’s most expensive player endured a stuttering first few weeks at the Bernabeu but has recently started to show exactly why Real parted with £85million to acquire his services.
Being number 2 to Ronaldo is nothing to be ashamed of but if the Welshman can demonstrate his capability of stepping up when needed then it will go a long way to silencing his critics.
The majority of the Madrid supporters are already behind Bale but a strong performance here will certainly help his cause.
Bale is 6/1 to score first with BetVictor.
GALATASARAY NEED TO RESTORE PRIDE
In the home fixture, Galatasaray were left humiliated by a 6-1drubbing as Los Blanco’s bombarded their goal from start to finish. A repeat performance will not be tolerated by the Turkish support.
Gala will be desperate to leave the Spanish capital with their pride in tact but in terms of their bid for the knockout stages a point or better really could provide the difference. The Turks sit second at the moment but defeat at the Bernebeau will see them drop to third as either Kobenhavn or Juventus will overtake them.
If they can somehow cause the unlikeliest of upsets by stealing all three points then their place in the last 16 would be all but sealed.
BATTLE OF THE ITALIANS
In the dugout it will be Carlo Ancelotti against Roberto Mancini as an old rivalry returns.
Between 2004 and 2008, these two did battle as the respective managers of Milan’s giant clubs. Whilst Mancini’s Inter often had more joy in the domestic game, it was Ancelotti’s AC that went on to lift the Champions League trophy in 2007.
A price of 2/7 at Bet365 suggests that it is the ex-Chelsea man that will come out on top again here.
Regardless of whether Ronaldo plays, Madrid have a wealth of talent going forward and are always likely to create chances at home.
With the speed of their attacks, the opposition are always vulnerable to being caught out and conceding fouls. If there is a decision to be made in the box, 85,000 screaming Spaniards could well influence the referee’s thinking.
For any team outside of Real of Barcelona, a price of 7/2 with Bet365 for a penalty to be scored would be laughable. In Madrid’s case though, I think it represents a decent outside shot. Well worth a small stake for interest.