The first-leg tie in the Round of 16 will be held at the Veltins-Arena (Gelsenkirchen) on Wednesday, the 18th February at 20:45 CET. Los Blancos embarrassed the hosts last season on German soil 6:1. While that scoreline shouldn't be repeated here, look for the visitors to take another lead back home to Spain.
FC Schalke 04
Schalke enter Wednesday’s Round of 16 clash with a point to prove after last season’s drubbing at the hands of the Spanish giants. Over 2 legs, Los Blancos crushed the Germans 9:2 on aggregate, and we expect them to come out with a steely determination here to recapture a measure of pride. While taking this fixture would be a miraculous feat against the defending champions, it’s not entirely farfetched with the likes of Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar, and Howedes in the lineup. However, the Dutch striker may not be able to play here, and the continued absence of Julian Draxler and Jefferson Farfan are legitimate concerns for their chances this Wednesday. Confidence will be taken from the fact that they have gone unbeaten in 12 of their last 14 competitive home games, with victories coming over Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund while holding Bayern Munich to a draw. Unfortunately for the Royal Blues, a draw here is likely the best-case scenario.
Real MadridReal Madrid have seemingly been tossed into turmoil after Cristiano Ronaldo threw a party for himself following their 0:4 drubbing at the hands of their hated rivals, Atletico. According to recent reports, he is now no longer untouchable in the transfer market, though selling one of the top 2 players in the world is admittedly easier said than done. Los Blancos responded well over the weekend and pushed on in their title challenge, conquering Deportivo La Coruna 2:0 with relative ease and seeing their league lead kept at 1 point above. The comfortable victory was a stark contrast to Schalke’s hard-fought road defeat over the weekend, and that could play into the visitors’ hands here. However, they will continue to play without James Rodriguez, and now that both Sergio Ramos and Pepe are expected to ride the sidelines, concern for their chances of winning this midweek are legitimate. Still, it’s hard to look past the fact that these are the defending champions, and while that always brings a load of pressure, it also instills a ton of confidence and this should ultimately be victory for the Spanish travelers.
Worth knowing about FC Schalke 04 - Real Madrid
- Real Madrid defeated Schalke last season on aggregate, 9:2.
- Real Madrid are the defending UCL champions.
- Huntelaar is questionable to play and would be a big loss for the hosts.
- Pepe is doubtful to make the starting lineup.
- All of Khedira, Ramos, and J. Rodriguez have been ruled out.
- Weather: Clear, cool night in Gelsenkirchen
- Weather: 4°C temps with 7 km/h winds - 79% humidity
- Stadium capacity: 78.966
- Referee: Martin Atkinson
- Real Madrid crushed Schalke on the road last season, 6:1.
- Real Madrid got back to winning ways last time out.
- Real Madrid are the defending champions of the cup.
- Real Madrid have the depth to cover for some major injuries.
- Schalke were forced into a tough road defeat over the weekend.
- Real Madrid won their match comfortably over the weekend.
- Both teams scored in both legs last season.
- Schalke are unbeaten in 12 of their 14 competitive home fixtures this season.
- Real Madrid admittedly have some worrying injury concerns.
- Real Madrid have won by multiple goals in just 1 of their last 5 games.