The two teams have never met each other before, Madrid have won just one of their 24 matches on German soil, losing 17. (Not a good record). If they are to improve upon that sequence of results, they have to start well tonight in Gelsenkirchen.
Schalke’s push for a top 4 finish suffered a blow on Friday as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Mainz. The hosts will be keen to return to winning ways tonight. For the Los Blancos, they dropped points just once in the group stages and will enter the meeting with Schalke at the summit of La Liga following the 3-0 win over Elche.
Despite Schalke holding home advantage, Real will be confident of taking a big step into the next round of the Champions League, spearheaded by the returning Ronaldo. The Spanish giants have won six of their last seven games in the Champions League and the top scorer in the history of the Champions League group stage- Cristiano Ronaldo- returns to action for his side after serving a three-match league ban that kept him out of action for the past two weeks.
For Schalke 04:
-Schalke have a number of injury worries ahead of the welcome of Real, with Marco Höger, Dennis Aogo, Atsuto Uchida and Christian Clemens all sidelined.
-Jan Kirchhoff and Beneidkt Höwedes are both doubts.
-Roman Neustädter is one booking away from suspension.
For Real Madrid:
-Sami Khedira is Carlo Ancelotti’s only injury concern, while Gareth Bale and Luka Modric are both doubts.
-Jesé and Asier Illarramendi will be expected to come into the starting XI should the duo fail to prove their fitness in time.
-Iker Casillas will start in goal.
HOW THEY WILL LINE UP
Looking into the mind of both coaches, this is how they will probably line up their team.
For Jens Keller(4-2-3-1): Ralf Fährmann; Sead Kolasinac, Benedikt Höwedes, Joël Matip, Tim Hoogland; Roman Neustädter, Kevin-Prince Boateng; Julian Draxler, Max Meyer, Jefferson Farfan; Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
For Carlo Ancelotti – (4-3-3): Iker Casillas; Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Alvaro Arbeloa; Angel Di Maria, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric; Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale.
HalftimeNG Prediction: Home advantage is key for Schalke especially if they are looking to pick a positive result against Real Madrid, who are definitely huge favourites for this one.
SCHALKE 1-3 REAL MADRID