Real Madrid-Schalke Preview: Blancos look to bounce back with record-breaking win

The European champions are bidding for a record 11th successive victory on the continent but their domestic form is worrying coach Carlo Ancelotti

Real Madrid are chasing a spot in the Champions League quarter-finals and further entries into the competition’s record books when they host Schalke on Tuesday.

The defending champions enhanced their status as the most successful European club of all time when they beat neighbours Atletico Madrid to collect a 10th Champions League crown last May.

Victory over Schalke would be Real’s 11th successive win in the competition, following a 2-0 triumph in the first-leg of the last-16 tie in Gelsenkirchen last month, and this would represent a new Champions League record.

Additionally, Carlo Ancelotti’s men are chasing a record-equalling 12th straight home win in Europe’s premier club tournament, although they will do so following a domestic setback at the the weekend.

Real went down to a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, allowing bitter rivals Barcelona to return to the top of La Liga with a 6-1 demolition of Rayo Vallecano the following day.

Defeat to Athletic followed a 1-1 draw against Villarreal and Ancelotti has urged his all-star attack to start firing again as soon as possible.

“The team is compact and focused on the targets that we have to keep fighting for,” he said, as quoted on Madrid’s official website.

“We have to fix the problems quickly. It sounds strange to say that Real Madrid has attacking problems when we have scored so many goals this season, but it is the truth.”

Schalke must hope these unusual misfiring tendencies continue having endured the Real attack at its most brutal last season.

At the same stage of the Champions League, the Spanish giants beat their Bundesliga opponents 6-1 away before closing out a 9-2 aggregate scoreline.

The assignment remains an incredibly tough one for Schalke, who won for the first time in five games across all competitions on Saturday when they beat Hoffenheim 3-1.

Christian Fuchs, who opened the scoring at the weekend, told Schalke’s official website: “We head to Madrid in high spirits. 

“No one will be betting on us to turn it around, but there’s a chance that it could happen.”

Madrid could welcome back influential midfielder Luka Modric, who has been sidelined with a thigh injury since November, but captain Sergio Ramos (hamstring) and playmaker James Rodriguez (toe) will miss out once more.

Kevin-Prince Boateng’s booking during the first leg means he is unavailable to Schalke coach Roberto Di Matteo due to suspension.

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03 2015
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