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Schalke won’t shake Real Madrid and red hot Ronaldo

| 25.02.2014

Real Madrid visit Schalke 04 in the Champions League round of 16 and will seldom have a better chance to do what they have so astonishingly failed to do on so many occasions in European competition down the years – win in Germany.

For a team with such a wonderful tradition and record – nine times European champions – it is quite bizarre that Los Blancos have won only one of 24 games on German turf and that was way back in 2000.

Coral bet 4-9 Real Madrid break the jinx in the Champions League last-16 first leg tie (13/2 Schalke, 7/2 the draw) and certainly on paper it is hard to imagine them not taking care of business this time.

Not only that, it is easy to see them putting Schalke to the sword to regain some Spanish pride and effectively render the second leg academic.

A neat result, given their opponents’ name, would be 0-4 (20/1) and that’s certainly not beyond a team firing on all cylinders at the moment, although 0-3 (11/1) is perhaps the safer bet.

Unbeaten since losing the Clasico in October, Real Madrid have now edged in front of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in La Liga, have made it to the final of the Copa del Rey and are 9/2 to be crowned champions of Europe for a 10th time.

Schalke have been in decent form since the German winter break, beating Bundesliga runners-up rivals Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen, and in Arsenal target Julian Draxler, have a player of genuine quality to give any team something to think about.

You do wonder, though, how Schalke measure up to the big European sides. Many thought that German teams would sweep all before them this season after the success they enjoyed last year, but Bayern Munich are in a class of their own in the Bundesliga – there’s not much strength in depth.

And then of course there’s the Ronaldo factor – 22 goals in 21 La Liga games this season to go with the nine he scored in the Champions League group stage. Even when the team is having an off-day, the Portuguese superstar is always likely to come up with the goods.

Coral bet 1/2 he’s on the scoresheet again and he’s evens to be the competition’s top scorer again, even though currently trailing Zlatan Ibrahimovic (3/2) by one.

I can’t imagine that Real Madrid’s poor record in Germany will be preying on the minds of the players once they are out of the pitch. Far more likely another dominant display – 11/10 winning at half time and full time looks a decent shout, as does the 15/8 a win to nil.



Jon Freeman