What: UEFA Champions League – Group B
Who: Real Madrid vs Galatasaray
When: Wednesday 27th November, 2013, at 19:45 UK Time
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain

Sealing Qualification

In a group that they top by a six-point margin with two games to go, Real Madrid have virtually guaranteed qualification to the Round of 16 in the 2013/14 Champions League. Meeting second-placed Galatasaray at home at the Santiago Bernabeu, Los Merengues need only a point from this match to ensure they finish the group stage as table leaders and as such, avoid meeting other big clubs that will naturally lead the rest of the groups.

Real Madrid were back to winning ways after the international break, as they managed to thrash Almeria 5-0 away. Cristiano Ronaldo was naturally the man who broke the deadlock for his team, but the Ballon d’Or nominee was replaced in the second half. As things stand, he will miss this game while he remains a doubt for the weekend’s bout against Real Valladolid.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have managed to score at least twice in all of their last six games against their Turkish rivals. Undefeated in their last five Champions League games, the nine-time competition winners will want to extend that record against a side they last thrashed 6-1 in Turkey back in September.

Confident of Progression

Despite losing their last Champions League game against FC Copenhagen, Real Madrid’s draw with Juventus meant that Galatasaray are still second-placed in Group B with two fixtures to go. Qualification is still possible for the Lions, and a good way to do that would be with a victory over Real Madrid. However, the last match between the two sides ended in a heavy victory in favour of the Spaniards.

The team’s misfortunes prompted them to turn to Italian coach Roberto Mancini, who expressed his belief that his new club will qualify for the next round. “It's never easy in the Champions League and our group is particularly tough. However, we can progress. I'm still confident of qualifying. We need to improve as a team but I am hopeful of a good result in our next game against Real Madrid”, commented the former Inter boss. 

Recent history does not favour Galatasaray as they have won just two of their past six meetings with Los Blancos. Real Madrid eliminated them from last season’s quarter-finals and naturally, revenge will be on their mind, but that will remain extremely difficult at the Bernabeu.


Recent form

Real Madrid:
Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid (05/11; Champions League)
Real Madrid 5-1 Real Sociedad (09/11; La Liga)
Almeria 0-5 Real Madrid (23/11; La Liga)

FC Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray (05/11; Champions League)
Fenerbahce 2-0 Galatasaray (10/11; Super Lig)
Galatasaray 2-1 Sivasspor (23/11; Super Lig)

Key absences

Real Madrid: Sami Khedira; Fabio Coentrao; Cristiano Ronaldo; Luka Modric (suspended)

Galatasaray: Fernando Muslera; Wesley Sneijder; Ufuk Ceylan; Hamit Altintop; Semih Kaya (doubt)

Players to watch

Real Madrid – Angel di Maria: The Argentine winger will have extra pressure on his shoulders as he is likely to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting line-up. This clash is a chance for Di Maria to impress.

Galatasaray – Burak Yilmaz: The forward will need to score goals as he hopes to hand Galatasaray some hope in the group stage. Even at home, Real Madrid have conceded six goals in their last six games, as their defence remains porous.

Match Prediction

It will be interesting to see how Real Madrid perform without Ronaldo, who has played in all 14 of their La Liga games so far this season. However, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Isco and Karim Benzema all firing, another win for the home side is expected. Real Madrid 3-1 Galatasaray.

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