Galatasaray will fancy their chances in this match after signing world-class players like Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, and the host are now aiming for the fourth successive victory in the competition. Schalke go into this game very low on confidence, but boosted by the return of Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Following several years of struggles, Galatasaray have been on the constant uptrend since legendary coach Fatih Terim returned to the helm and they managed to return to Europe’s elite competition after a four-year break. The team started really slowly, taking just one point from first three fixtures, but then impressed to win the remaining three and thus qualified for the knockout stages. The Turkish giants have since boosted their ranks with Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba, who are expected to put Schalke defence under all kinds of pressure, together with red-hot Burak Yilmaz and Hamit Altintop. Should anything go wrong, the likes of Amrabat, Bulut and Elmander will be waiting in the wings. On the other hand, with winger Albert Riera playing at left-back and Emmanuel Eboue hardly in the form of his life, I can see the hosts facing problems against Schalke’s high-quality attack.
Schalke have found it hard to cope with everything thrown their way this season, although the team did brilliantly to beat the likes of Arsenal, Montpellier and Olympiakos to the first place in their Champions League group. The team have lost nothing up front with the departure of Lewis Holtby, given that impressive Michel Bastos came to replace him, and with Klaas Jan Huntelaar finally returning to the side, Schalke can be trusted to score at least once in Istanbul. The back line, on the other hand, is likely to be a problem, especially as first choice keeper Lars Unnerstall as well as starting defenders Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Atsuto Uchida all miss out through injury. With the visitors likely to be under tremendous pressure from both their opponents and fans at Turk Telekom Arena, there is every chance the Miners will concede at least two goals for the fifth time in six games in 2013.