Galatasaray vs Real Madrid Champions League preview: The assault on La Decima...

Galatasaray vs Real Madrid Champions League preview: The assault on La Decima begins in Istanbul


Real Madrid’s 12th attempt to conquer La Decima begins at Istambul, where they’ll find a hostile environment against Galatasaray.

Los Blancos beat the Turkish side in last year’s Champions League quarter final with an aggregate 5-2, and Galatasaray are hoping to take their revenge.

Carlo Ancelotti will miss Xabi Alonso, Raphael Varane, Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao once again. However, he could bring Alvaro Arbeloa back into the side after missing the last La Liga’s game against Villarreal when he suffered a last minute injury.

The Spanish international could start at the left-back, leaving Daniel Carvajal his spot on the right-back. Isco and Gareth Bale will make their debut in the Champions League with Los Merengues, while Asier Illarramendi could also have his first appearance in this competition. Bale, however, could start from the bench.

The main news is the return of Iker Casillas to the starting line-up in an official Real Madrid match. The last one was nine months ago, when he suffered a fractured hand during a game against Valencia. Ancelotti has revealed that Real’s captain will be the starter in the Champions League.

Galatasaray struggling in the league

Fatih Terim’s side are struggling in the beginning of the Turkish league. Galatasaray have drawn their last three games, and sit in mid-table with only six points from four matches.

The Lions main problem until now has been playing their three stars together: Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder and Burak Yilmaz. Whenever Terim has lined-up the three at the same time, his team has suffered problems in defence.

Los Blancos are obviously the stronger side on paper, and with Ronaldo on a run of 21 goals in his last 19 Champions League appearances, Galatasaray face a tough challenge in pursuing a win.

Yet the Turks are a formidable outfit at home, where they have lost only two of their last 14 European games.

Possible line-ups:

Galatasaray: Muslera; Balta, Kaya, Chedjou, Eboue; Inan, Melo, Colak; Snejder; Yilmaz, Drogba.

Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Carvajal; Khedira, Modric; Ronaldo, Isco, Di Maria; Benzema.