Real Madrid and Schalke 04 will play tonight their return leg in the UCL round of 16. Their first match pretty much solved the question of aggregate winner, and this one is just a mere formality.
Carlo Ancelotti will have the chance to rest some of his key players, and to give some playing time to those players on the bench. Schalke 04 will come to Madrid to end their European spell for this season, and won’t be too much down headed about it, having already accomplished their goal of qualifying for this round of UCL.
“Los Merengues” are coming into this game after an away victory against Malaga in domestic championship. Once again, it was Ronaldo who brought them three important points. Carlo Ancelotti fielded, probably, their best 11, knowing that he can give them rest against Schalke 04. The Miners from Gelsenkirchen traveled to the south of Germany, and won against Augsburg during the weekend behind us. Goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar secured them big victory for their second-place battle with Borussia Dortmund. They are now just one point away from their northern rivals.
For tonight, they’ll be without Aogo, Fuchs, Clemens, Hoger and Kirchoff as they are all injured. Uchida and Farfan are doubtful. Real Madrid will have the opportunity to mix things up, at least a little bit. Benzema will skip this one out, and he’ll be replaced by Alvaro Morata. Arbeloa and Khedira are out due to injuries. Jese, Illarramendi and Nacho will most probably play the full 90 minutes. Ancelotti told the press yesterday that he’ll give a chance to the youngsters.
Home team’s form is constantly on the rise since winter break. Ancelotti’s men have won sixteen out of eighteen games since then, not losing a single one. They are fired up for the rest of the season, and are aiming to the highest laurels’. This will most probably be a one way street, as Schalke 04 side is destined for elimination. However, both Howedes and Boateng said that they are coming to Madrid for a chance to sign off from Europe on a high note. Boateng stated that they know it’s almost impossible for them to progress, but they want to put a good performance for their fans.
Time: 20:45h CET
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Casillas; Nacho, Ramos, Varane, Coentrao; Isco, Illarramendi, Modrić; Jese, Morata, Ronaldo.
Schalke 04 (4-2-3-1): Fahrmann; Kolašinac, Santana, Matip, Howedes; Neustadter, Boateng; Draxler, Meyer, Obasi; Huntelaar.
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