Real Madrid v Schalke betting tips and predictions for the Champion League this week.
FC Schalke have a mountain to climb if they are to advance to the next stage of the Champions League. They travel to the Santiago Bernabeu looking to overturn a 2-0 deficit against a Real Madrid team who have never lost a Champions League home game by more than 2 goals. Roberto Di Matteo knows a thing or two about upsetting the odds in the Champions League, but is this one step too far?
Madrid suffered a shock defeat to Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, which opened the door for arch rivals Barcelona to pinch top spot in La Liga. Admittedly Madrid’s form of late has tailed off somewhat. They notched 12 league wins in a row from September 20th until they were defeated in their 13th match by Valencia in December. Since then they have failed to ignite the same kind of scoring form that brought them such success. A humiliating 4-0 defeat to local rivals Atletico Madrid was the absolute low point of their season. A draw to Villareal and a loss to Bilbao in their previous two games hints at a team that may just have stalled somewhat.
Schalke currently occupy 5th place in the Bundesliga and their form is somewhat erratic. They managed a 1-1 draw away at Bayern Munich in February but then 11 days later were defeated 1-0 by Eintracht Frankfurt. In their previous two games they were defeated 3-0 by a resurgent Dortmund team and then earned a 3-1 victory over Hoffenheim.
Schalke and Real Madrid played at the same stage of the competition last year with Madrid running out 9-2 winners on aggregate. Schalke suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat in Gelsenkirchen and were only able to claw back 1 goal in the away leg. This does not bode well for their upcoming clash, but Di Matteo is relatively upbeat about his side’s chances, stating; “To be able to compete against a team like that, our team need to have a perfect day and hope that Real Madrid are not in top form. Then we could get a positive result”.
The only glimmer of hope that I can see for Schalke is that Real Madrid are not in particularly good form at the moment. Ancelotti has blamed an air of selfishness for their current predicament, saying that; "There is no connection, there is too much individual play". This kind of statement will surely not go down too well with an ego as big as Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7 is obviously a massive cog in the Madrid machine and they will need him firing on all cylinders if they are to repeat their Champions League triumph of last season. But, will Ancelotti’s remarks regarding the state of his team’s attacking play do more harm than good?
This game is a tough one to call. Madrid simply need to avoid defeat by more than 2 goals to progress. However, Madrid always attack, they just don’t know any other way. The way that Madrid set their stall out in this game will have a massive bearing on the result. If they look only to defend, which they are not used to, then they could easily come unstuck. However, if they go out to attack, then they will leave themselves open to the counter. Ancelotti is no fool, and I believe that he will set his team out to be slightly more cautious than usual but I just cannot see them slipping up at home to a weaker side, no matter how poor their domestic form of late. Records are records for a reason, and I don’t believe Schalke have a team strong enough to break any against Real Madrid.
With a 2-0 lead from the away leg, simply betting on Madrid to qualify would give very short odds. Therefore we will have to delve deeper to find our money makers in this clash. With Madrid’s current shaky domestic form and slight lack of confidence, I think Schalke will score. Schalke need to score to have any hope of qualifying so they must set their stall out to push for goals. Madrid have conceded in 13 out of the last 20 European home matches and Schalke have scored in 13 out of their last 20 European away matches. Furthermore, Madrid will break the record for successive Champions League home victories if they are successful against Schalke and I can see this as an incentive for them to make sure of the win. Therefore, my first football-betting tip is for Real Madrid to win and both teams to score. Odds of 21/10 can be found with 888Sport.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored the opening goal in 5 out of Madrid’s 7 games in the Champions League this season. Therefore my second football-betting tip is for Ronaldo to open the scoring again in this one. Odds of 5/2 can be found with Betfair.
Not far behind Ronaldo is Karim Benzema who has notched 5 goals from 6 appearances in the competition so far. I can see him notching another against Schalke and so my third and final football betting tip is for Benzema to be an anytime goalscorer. Odds of 6/5 can be found with Coral.
Real Madrid to win and both teams to score – 21/10 with 888Sport: signup get £88 free.
Cristiano Ronaldo to score first – 5/2 with Betfred.
Karim Benzema to score anytime – 6/5 with Coral.