For Real Madrid, there's additional reason for trepidation now than when the draw was made in December. Two months ago, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were on a Spanish-record run of 22 consecutive victories that culminated in them finishing 2014 by lifting the Club World Cup. Since then, though, their form has subsided. The drop off in performances largely went unpunished, till they visited rivals Atlético Madrid earlier this month and were handed their biggest defeat in a lot of than four years, four-0. A two-0 win at home to Deportivo la Coruna on Saturday steadied the ship, but wasn't wholly convincing.
Real Madrid can have lots of positive memories once they continue the defense of their Champions League title by visiting Schalke on Wednesday, however neither aspect are anticipating a repeat of last season’s emphatically one-sided affair. For the second season running, the teams have been drawn along within the Spherical of sixteen. And again the first leg can be in Gelsenkirchen, simply as it was twelve months ago when Real Madrid effectively ended the tie as a contest by inflicting a chastening half-dozen-1 defeat on their German hosts. Real Madrid went onto win 9-a pair of on aggregate, before lifting the European Cup for an unprecedented 10th time. However captain Iker Casillas expects that, if something, last season’s lead to Germany makes the matchup a additional perilous one.
Madrid may be set for an encounter the same as their away defeat to Valencia in January. In that match, their opponents matched up the BBC 3-on-three, with their wide centre-backs man-marking Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, whereas Nicolas Otamendi patrolled the central area and kept a watch on Benzema. Schalke sporting director Gerhard Zuber recently told Sky Sports that the club’s improved defensive stability has been key to their turnaround underneath Di Matteo. It can be given a severe check on Wednesday against one amongst the most potent strike-forces in world football. If they are able to nullify Madrid’s front three, it would set the hold up very nicely for the second leg in Spain.
“It will be very difficult,” he told UEFA, consistent with Real Madrid’s official web site. “The atmosphere in Germany will be very intense. They're aware that they have an chance to urge revenge and we have a tendency to expect a powerful game.” “The fact that we have a tendency to faced them last year does not benefit us. If something, it gives them a bonus. It would be miscalculation to think that taking part in in Gelsenkirchen will be simple and that we tend to'll repeat what happened last year. Quite the opposite: we tend to need to watch out and go there with humility. It will be a terribly robust tie.”