10th March, 2015; 19:45 GMT
Real Madrid host Schalke 04 as Carlo Ancelotti looks for an impressive run in the Champions League after emerging as the winners of the tournament last season. Though Real Madrid come into the second leg of the Round of 16 fixture with a two goal lead, Cristiano Ronaldo and co will have reason to worry after their dismal performance in the domestic fixtures. Having lost the lead in the La Liga to Barcelona following their defeat against Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid will be keen for a strong performance in the Champions League in a bid to placate their fans.
Despite starting the season on a strong note that saw Real Madrid script a dramatic 22 game winning streak, Carlo Ancelottia s men seem to have lost the plot in the new year after dropping several points in the Spanish La Liga and hence allowing Barcelona to make up the deficit in the race for the Spanish crown. Crashing out of the Copa del Rey at the hands of city rivals Atletico Madrid certainly has not helped Carlo Ancelottia s case at Real Madrid and hence the Italian will be keen on putting forward a strong performance in front of a Santiago Bernabeu that is slowly losing its patience with its Galacticos.
Carlo Ancelotti will welcome back the arrival of Luka Modric who has been missing in action due to an injury. The Croatian is an important cog in the wheel for Ancelotti and Real Madrid seem to have missed his ingenuity in the midfield. However Ancelotti confirmed that Modric will not start the game but could feature later into the match in an attempt to gain match-fitness. The Italian maestro also revealed that Martin A?degaard would not be featuring in the game while reiterating his faith in Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo to deliver the goods for Real Madrid.
With BBC leading the teama s attack, Lucas Silva, Toni Kroos and Isco are expected to feature in the midfield. Carlo Ancelotti insists that his lack of rotation is not taking a toll on his players. Varane and Pepe are expected to start in the heart of the defence with Marcelo and Dani Carvajal playing alongside them.
Having taken an effective lead in the first leg of the fixture, Real Madrid will be happy to keep possession and will look to score the first goal in order to secure a spot in the quarter-finals. The fact that Schalke will be looking to attack will only work in Madrida s favour as long as the likes of Varane and Pepe can see off any foreseeable danger.
Expected Starting Eleven: Casillas (GK); Varane, Pepe, Carvajal, Marcelo; Silva, Modric, Isco, Ronaldo, Bale; Benzema
Schalke will come to Santiago Bernabeu with their task cut out for them. Having lost embarrassingly to the same opposition last year in the Champions League, the German outfit have an uphill task as they look to overturn a two goal deficit. Following their 2-0 defeat in the first leg of the fixture, Schalke have won only once in their domestic outings.
Schalke boss Roberto Di Matteo admitted that his team will need to have a a perfect daya in order to beat Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu. However Schalke will miss the services of Julian Draxler, Fahrmann, Farfan and Obasidue to injuries while Boateng is ruled out due to injuries. The former Chelsea manager will be banking heavily on the services of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting who are expected to lead the teama s attack at Santiago Bernabeu. However the German side will be aware that they cannot concede even a single goal in order to stay alive in the tie. Roberto Di Matteo is expected to start with three defenders, Howedes, Nastasic and Kaan Ayhan in an attempt to stop the likes of Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Expected Starting Eleven: Timon Wellenreuther(GK); Howedes, Ayhan, Nastasic; Barnetta, Hoger, Neust dter, Meyer, Fuchs; Huntelaar, Choupo-Moting
Real Madrid 3-1 Schalke 04
Player To Watch Out For
Cristiano Ronaldo remains the player to watch out for as Real Madrid host Schalke in an attempt to win a place in the quarter finals of the Champions League. The Portuguese has not had a good start to 2015 and with Lionel Messi breathing down his neck, the number 7 will be hoping for a strong show in front of the home crowd.
Blast From The Past