Galatasaray Vs. Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League 2013-2014: Match Preview

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Iker Casillas will start an official game for Real Madrid after some tough months on the bench. Carlo Ancelotti recovers Arbeloa and could have some rotations in mind after Bale and Illarramendi played for 60 minutes in their debut with the club this Saturday.

Real Madrid and Galatasaray will kick-off their European campaign this Tuesday (20:45 CET) at Istambul. Last season, both clubs met in the Champions League Quarterfinals and José Mourinho and his men managed to get a ticket to the Semifinals after winning 3-0 at the Bernabéu and losing 3-2 at Ali Sami Yen with a crowd that never gave up.

Real Madrid have not been playing well in these first matches. After Isco and Modric allowed the team to win the first nine points in La Liga, Villarreal put Real Madrid in trouble and managed to get a 2-2 draw with an unforgettable performance by Diego López, who saved his team numerous times.

López will not be Real Madrid's goalkeeper against Galatasaray, as Carlo Ancelotti confirmed in the pre-match press conference. Real's captain Iker Casillas will get a chance to prove himself as a better goalkeeper than Diego López, but Casillas will have a hard time trying to match Diego's performance against Villarreal.

Carlo Ancelotti might also have Álvaro Arbeloa available if the Spanish defender feels ready enough. Nacho Fernández was the team's left back at El Madrigal and he struggled quite a lot, so it could be smart to play Arbeloa in that position, since he's a far more experienced player than Nacho. Arbeloa's natural position on Real Madrid's right back would then be kept by Dani Carvajal, who assisted Gareth Bale for Real's first goal against Villarreal.

Asier Illarramendi made his debut with Real Madrid, and even though he played well enough to repeat against Galatasaray, he might not be physically ready to play two games in just four days. That could also happen to Gareth Bale, who is in a similar position after missing a full preseason due to his transfer saga. If Ancelotti decides to keep them on the bench, Ángel Di María and Sami Khedira will have the chance to prove that their bad night against Villarreal will not occur often.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco and Benzema appear to have a big edge over their replacements, so it would be a surprise to see them out of the lineup against Galatasaray. Benzema played really bad last Saturday but he has started the season well, so it would be a bit unfair to bench him right now and give the starting spot to Morata.

One way or another, Real Madrid need to get the three points in this match, considering that the fight for the first spot of the group might be tight against Juventus. Whoever gets the better result against Galatasaray might get the edge in this group. If Ronaldo and his teammates keep the team balanced and find a way to score, Real Madrid should prevail and get the win against Drogba, Sneijder and company.

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