Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
27th November, 2013; 19:45 BST
Real Madrid host Turkish side Galatasaray on their next Champions League group stage fixture at Santiago Bernabeu. The reverse fixture in Turkey ended in one sided victory for the away side as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a wonderful hat-trick. Real Madrid managed to score six past a hapless Galatasaray defence that night and Roberto Mancini would hope for a better performance from his side this time around.
This will be the fourth meeting between these two sides this year after they faced each other in the knockout stage of last season’s Champions League. Galatasaray have a poor record against Real Madrid away from home and have lost on four of their last four visits. The last time The Lion won against Los Blancos away from their home ground was back in 2000, in the UEFA Super Cup. Jardel scored a brace that night to cancel out Raul’s goal from the spot.
Team news and tactics
Real Madrid made a good start to their domestic campaign under their new manager Carlo Ancelotti, but defeats against Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have seen them drop down to third in the league table – six points behind league leaders Barcelona. They did bounce back immediately from that disappointing loss against their arch rivals and thrashed Sevilla 7-3 in the next game. Real Madrid are coming into this match on the back of a comfortable 0-5 win over Almeria as Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema, Isco and Morata got on the score-sheet.
The Spanish side made a flying start to their European campaign as well and currently lead the points table of Group B with a six points advantage over Galatasaray and Copenhagen. Real Madrid are in a strong position in this group and require only a point to secure their place at the top. Los Blancos dropped points in their last game against Juventus as Fernando Llorente scored an equalizer after Ronaldo and Bale provided the lead to the away side.
Carlo Ancelotti has a lot of injury concerns to contain with ahead of this fixture. Raphael Varane, Sami Khedira, and Fabio Coentrao are all out of contention for this fixture with injuries. Luka Modric is suspended for this game, while Ancelotti revealed that Xabi Alonso is likely to be rested for this match. Real Madrid will also be without their star man Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese international was substituted in the second half of the game against Almeria after picking up a strain in his left thigh. Ancelotti assured that it isn’t a serious injury, but has revealed his plan to rest the 28-year-old.
Ancelotti is expected to make four changes to the side he fielded against Almeria at the weekend. Iker Casillas will replace Diego Lopez in goal, while Marcelo will replace Carvajal in the defence. The Brazilian’s presence means Arbeloa, who started as a left back in the last game, will shift back to the right back spot. Ancelotti has revealed that 21-year-old midfielder Casemiro will replace Xabi Alonso in the pivot as the former Liverpool midfielder is rested for this game. Jese or Di Maria will replace Cristiano Ronaldo on the left wing and the Argentine international is likely to get the nod in this big game.
Expected starting line-up: Casillas (GK); Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Illarramendi; Di Maria, Isco, Bale; Benzema
Galatasaray made a slow start to their domestic campaign under former manager Fatih Terim. The Turkish side drew four of their opening six matches in the league and dropped down the table. Following the arrival of Roberto Mancini at the helm, results have improved and Galatasaray are currently fourth in the league table – nine points behind Fenerbahce. Mancini’s side bounced back from the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Fenerbahce earlier this month, with an important against Sivasspor. Galatasaray won the match 2-1 in the end, but the goals don’t reveal the complete story of this unbelievable fixture. The match had four sending offs, two penalties (out of which one of them was missed by Drogba) and nearly everything a football match could possibly have.
After the crashing defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in the opening fixture of their group stages, Galatasaray grabbed a important draw against Juventus away from and a crucial win against FC Copenhagen. But their defeat in reverse fixture against Danish side has left the race for the second place wide open. Second placed Galatasaray and fourth placed Juventus are separated by only a point and this group is sure to go down to the wire. A positive result against Real Madrid will hold them in good stead ahead of their last fixture against Juventus at home.
Roberto Mancini has a lot of injury concerns to contain with ahead of this fixture. Hamit Altintop, Aydin Yilmaz, Engin Baytar, Yekta Kurtulus and Fernando Muslera are all out of contention for this game with injuries. There are still concerns about the fitness of Wesley Sneijder and Semih Kaya and the duo will not feature in this game as well.
Mancini is expected to make two changes to the side he fielded against Sivasspor this weekend. Didier Drogba, who came on as a substitute in that game, will start alongside Burak Yilmaz as Umut Bulut drops back to the bench. Aydin Yilmaz, who picked up an injury in that match and was replaced by Emre Colak, will miss out this game; Colak will start in his place on the right wing.
Expected starting line-up: Iscan (GK); Eboue, Chedjou, Zan, Nounkeu; Colak, Inan, Melo, Riera; Drogba, Yilmaz
Players to watch-out for: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid); Burak Yilmaz (Galatasaray)
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Galatasaray