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Champions League, Real Madrid vs Schalke 04: Match preview

It will be very hard for a struggling Real Madrid side to lose the two-goal advantage obtained at the VELTINS Arena, but this match is important for other reasons...

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid lost the lead in La Liga's table, and it's time for Los Blancos to wake up and realize the season is at stake. Tuesday's match against Schalke is quite irrelevant. Ancelotti's men were able to win 0-2 in Germany, so Schalke will need to win the game by two goals in order to go through and play in the Quarterfinals.

All things considered, it would be reasonable to make some rotations and keep the team fresh, but Ancelotti keeps stating that the team is not suffering from any kind of physical issues, so expect the same usual Starting XI with maybe a couple of small, subtle changes.

Modric is expected to play some minutes after being sidelined for four months with a severe muscle injury picked up during a FIFA break. The Croatian player was one of the main reasons behind Real Madrid's brilliant start to the 2014-2015 season and should be starting as soon as he's physically ready to do so. Arguably the world's greatest midfielder during 2014, Modric has been greatly missed by the coaching staff, the players and also the fans. Ancelotti will be looking forward to have him back in the lineup, as he stated during the pre-match press conference saying that Modric's through balls "disrupt the opposition's defensive line".

This will be a wake-up call kind of game for Real Madrid. Los Blancos could very well use a big win to build some momentum and try to silent the whistles from the Bernabéu. The fans will be hoping to see a better version of their team and their whistles will not help, but it's already too late to try to change the Santiago Bernabéu's crowd.

The players will surely feel the fans' displeasure as soon as they step into the pitch, but if they can get a few plays done and earn a convincing win, it will not be too late to regain their trust in the squad.

Real Madrid's BBC need to get back to scoring ways as soon as possible. The team's offense has not been clicking and it's not entirely the BBC's fault, but it's fair to expect more from one of the best attacking trios in the world of football, especially from Gareth Bale, who has neither scored nor assisted in any of Real Madrid's last 8 matches. The Welsh player needs a good game to deny the rumors of a potential departure from the Spanish capital. Cristiano Ronaldo also needs to score a couple of goals and prove that he can still be the leader this side need.

All in all, this is a very good chance for Ancelotti and his men to complete a decent performance and forget the 1-1 draw against Villarreal and the 1-0 loss in San Mamés. At the end of the day, this will just be the build up to March 22nd's El Clásico, where Real Madrid will have much more at stake.

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