It’s funny to think as a premier Bundesliga side going in as underdogs to a two-leg encounter with a Turkish side, but Schalke were in that position before the first leg, in which they had ample opportunities through counter attacking to end Galatasaray’s chances in the Champions League, but left enough of an opening to make it an exciting second leg.
The signings of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder through the expectations out of the Turkish champions and league leaders through the roof, but the team’s best player is still Burak Yilmaz, joint-top scorer of the competition this season with seven goals (along with Cristiano Ronaldo). He’s their best chance of scoring, but for Galatasaray to play well and have a shot against a Schalke side booming with confidence after climbing back to Champions League position in the league and beating their biggest rivals, Dortmund, in the Ruhr derby, it’s going to be about Sneijder realizing what he can and can’t do.
The fact that he’s paid so much money doesn’t turn him into a better player – he’s the same Sneijder that has been on a steady decline since the 2010 World Cup because he started to think he’s a much bigger star than he really is, and forgot that a central midfielder role, not an attacking midfielder who hardly works, is what made him this good for Real Madrid and Inter.
Schalke want a quick match to develop. They shouldn’t mind Gala having most of the possession and slowing things down. The Turkish defense has conceded at least once in every away match they’ve had this season in the competition, not to mention an 11-game streak in the Champions League. Farfan, Draxler and Bastos will be waiting for the opportunity to make the most of opportunities to hit back.
Prediction – Schalke are the better side, and seem to have finally gotten over the departure of Lewis Holtby. Unless Galatasaray get an impressive performance from Sneijder, it’s hard to see them beating a superior side, which has been saving its best football for the UCL this season.