What: UEFA Champions League – Group B
Who: Galatasaray vs Real Madrid
When: Tuesday 17th September, 2013, at 19:45 UK Time
Where: Turk Telekom Arena, Istanbul, Turkey

Out for Revenge

Galatasaray will be looking for some payback after being dumped out of the Champions League last season at the hands of Real Madrid at the quarter-finals. Realising that Los Blancos often display weakness on the road – as they did on league duty against Villarreal recently – Fatih Terim’s side will be looking to start their European campaign on the best note possible.

Knowing that they can prevail over their adversaries – they won the last game between the two sides 3-2 – Terim has boldly declared that he has “no doubts” that his side will prevail at the Turk Telekom arena on Tuesday night.

“We're going to beat Real Madrid, and don't any of you doubt it!” said the coach in temperamental fashion to his players in a training session ahead of this fixture.

However, Galatasaray will need to be cautious as they have conceded twice the last two times they welcomed Real Madrid to their home turf. However, Real Madrid’s midfield seemed to be overrun against Villarreal. In the continuous absence of Xabi Alonso, Galatasaray hold every chance of taking full points should they imitate the feats of the Yellow Submarine, albeit with more cutting edge.

La Decima, Once More

The story of Real Madrid and La Decima continues. After making history by being the first club to sign a player on a nine-figure deal, Los Blancos want to be the first side to reach double digits in terms of Champions League conquests. Going through his third coach in his second reign, president Florentino Perez will hope that Carlo Ancelotti manages to hold the “Big Ears” trophy next May.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract extension on Sunday did make the Portuguese the highest paid footballer on Earth, but Ancelotti will have other issues on his mind, as Real Madrid’s efforts on the road remain average. Had it not been for Diego Lopez’s heroics against Villarreal, then the nine-time Champions League winners would have been facing a deserved loss.

Furthermore, Asier Illarramendi was clearly the weakest link in the side, the Spaniard having just recently come back from injury, while Karim Benzema’s form with the team remains as disappointing as it is with France.

One player that looked lively throughout the match was new signing Gareth Bale. The Welshman scored on his debut for Los Merengues, but fitness concerns confined him to just 60 minutes of play.


Recent form

Bursaspor 1-1 Galatasaray (25/08; Super Lig)
Eskisehirspor 0-0 Galatasaray (30/08; Super Lig)
Galatasaray 1-1 Antalyaspor (13/09; Super Lig)

Real Madrid:
Deportivo La Coruna 0-4 Real Madrid (29/08; Friendly)
Real Madrid 3-1 Athletic Bilbao (01/09; La Liga)
Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid (14/09; La Liga)

Key absences

Galatasaray: Burak Yilmaz; Dany Nounkeu (suspended)

Real Madrid: Marcelo; Xabi Alonso; Raphael Varane; Fabio Coentrao 

Players to watch

Galatasaray – Didier Drogba: The Ivory Coast striker will meet his former Chelsea boss Ancelotti. Despite having scored the last time the two sides met, Drogba will be happy that Raphael Varane will miss this one, the Frenchman having been brilliant against him.

Real Madrid – Iker Casillas: As confirmed by Ancelotti, Casillas will finally start an official game for his club for the first time since January. With Lopez playing magnificently, it seems as if the Mostoles-born shot-stopper will take on Copa del Rey and Champions League duty. Surpassing Lopez’s showing however could make his coach change his mind.

Match Prediction

Ancelotti will restore Sami Khedira next to Luka Modric in an attempt to add steel to his midfield, while Alvaro Arbeloa should command the left-back berth with Daniel Carvajal operating at right-back. Showing mediocrity on the road, Real Madrid will have lots of trouble commanding this one, particularly in their desire to win the midfield battle. Galatasaray 1-1 Real Madrid.

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