Despite being in excellent form recently, Real Madrid won’t win the league title, and have to throw everything they have at the Champions League, and especially the first leg, played at home, against a surprising Galatasaray side, trying to go where no Turkish side has gone before.
On paper, it’s hard seeing Gala doing anything substantial. Yes, they might score. Burak Yilmaz is a talented enough striker – no wonder he’s tied with Ronaldo and Messi for 8 goals in the competition this season, but Real Madrid at home, with focus on just one match, are as good of a team as any around Europe, not to mention no Turkish side has ever won in Spain.
What’s more? Real Madrid have the best attack, along with Bayern Munich this season, in the competition. They’ve also failed to score only one in their last 33 Champions League matches. To make it simple – they’re rested, healthy across the board and simply a much better team.
What can Galatasaray do to make things a little bit more even? Find a way to unhinge and disrupt whatever it is that Xabi Alonso and Mesut Ozil will attempt to do. There’s no real stopping Cristiano Ronaldo, and putting a man on him all the time comes at a cost – something the Galatasaray defense might not have it in them to make up for. Trying to stop those who need to step up in order to enable Ronaldo the comforts of scoring and relentless shooting at goal, they need to stop the deputies, not the best player, who can’t be completely contained anyway.
How much does Didier Drogba have left in him for these kind of physical encounters? How much is Wesely Sneijder willing to give in the center of the midfield instead of playing like the attacking midfielder he isn’t? Galatasaray need everything to be in perfect working order for their counter attacking plans to work, but I’m not sure they have the quality to pull it off.
Prediction – Real Madrid win this one. The only question is by how much, and how much trouble Galatasaray manage to present. I don’t think too much, but they’re going to give themselves some hope for the second leg with one goal, while Real Madrid will score 3 at least.