Cristiano Ronaldo is back for Real Madrid tonight as Los Blancos travel to Germany to take on Bundesliga outfit Schalke in the first-leg of their last 16 tie.
The 29-year-old’s presence in the side will be a huge boost for Madrid, as will the return of the BBC front three for the first time in a month – with Carlo Ancelotti confirming Gareth Bale will start ahead of Jese too.
Los Blancos actually have a woeful record on German soil. In 25 matches played in the country, they’ve won just once and lost 18 times. But the bookies don’t seem to worry about that record with Madrid backed at 4/9 to win in Gelschenkirchen.
The hosts have some dangerous players – Julian Draxler and former Real forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in their ranks – but are still considered outsiders for the match at 4/11. A draw is offered at 7/2 by the bookies.
Madrid come into the game on a great run of form – 26 matches unbeaten since their 2-1 reverse to Barcelona back in October. The Champions League is also a competition they regularly find the net in, and have scored in their last 21 away matches. Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to grab the opening goal tonight, but those who fancy a punt may consider putting money on Karim Benzema.
The Frenchman is enjoying a prolific campaign to date, and also has an excellent record in Europe’s top club competition with 33 goals in 58 games. At evens to get on the scoresheet at any point, he may be worth backing.