The reigning champions of Europe, Real Madrid, arrived in Germany on a private plane ahead of their Champions League clash with Schalke as they look to defend their European crown.
It’s a big game for both sides and Madrid will have to go into it with a string of injuries. They will be without Colombian World Cup star James Rodriguez, Fabio Coentrao, Sami Khedira, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric.
Pepe is still a doubt but could be on the bench as the Italian manager looks to stick with his defensive partnership of Nacho and Raphael Varane.
Bale and Casillas under pressure
Gareth Bale has been struggling lately as well, not with an injury, but instead with the Madrid fans. He has been the subject of booing in Spain recently, even during their 2-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
He wasn’t the only one to be the subject of the Madrid fans anger, as Iker Casillas and Carlo Ancelotti also received boos.
A big win away in German over a strong Schalke side who currently sit fourth in the Bundesliga could do a lot to lighten the mood amongst the fans.
Di Matteo has injury concerns of his own
Ancellotti isn’t the only one with a list of injuries as Roberto Di Matteo’s side have a lengthy list of absentees as well. Julian Draxler, Ralf Fahrmann, Jefferson Farfan, Sead Kolasinac, Leon Goretzka and Chinedu Obasi are all sidelined.
Even Sidney Sam and Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar are doubts.
Madrid won all their matches in the group stage of the Champions League and kept clean sheets in their last four European outings so it is going to be tough for Schalke to break them down especially with a lot of injuries to their attacking players.
It will be a tough test for Di Matteo but he will be hoping to stop Madrid scoring any away goals, so you might expect to see Schalke set up quite defensively.
Do Schalke stand any chance against Real Madrid? Post your score predictions in the comments below.