REAL MADRID mauled Schalke 6-1 in Germany last season and should win in tonight’s last-16 first leg when they return to the Veltins Arena.
After a 10th Champions League crown last season the Spaniards are aiming to become the first side to successfully defend their title.
There’s little or no chance of Schalke stopping their charge and BetVictor and others make Real no bigger than 1-12 to qualify while an away win tonight pays 4-9 with most firms.
Remember routed Schalke 9-2 on aggregate last season and won all six of their group games while Schalke squeezed through despite conceding 14 times – more than any other qualifier – so there should be plenty of goals tonight.
Carlo Ancelotti is missing the likes of Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and James Rodriguez but Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo each scored twice that 6-1 romp and are all available.
Schalke will be without key men Julian Draxler and Jefferson Farfan while ex-Real star Klaas-Jan Huntelaar can play but is serving a domestic ban. First-choice keeper Ralf Fahrmann is out for the season and their No.2 is also injured so 19-year-old rookie Timon Wellenreuttler will be between the sticks and Real will love that.
Real have scored in 26 out of 27 Champions League away games and and if you believe the home men will strike too look at both to score at 7-10 at Ladbrokes.
Ronaldo has only scored in only three of his last 10 games but is 3-1 favourite with William Hill to break the deadlock.
He has hit five in six CL games Karim Benzema has four and he might be a better bet to net first at 4-1 with Hills who go 5-1 Bale.
Real should win this with plenty to spare and I like them minus one at 6-5 with Skybet.
The other tie sees Basel take on Porto and it’s a tough one to call. I think Porto will qualify and they are 4-9 at Paddy Power and bet365 to do so.
However, winning at Basel won’t be easy and best bet could be both to score in what could be an open game. That pays 1-1 at Betfred.
For a scorer what about Jackson Martinez who is in hot form after hitting 12 in last 13 matches. He is 9-5 at BetVictor.
Benzema to score first
(4-1, William Hill)
Basel v Porto btts (7.45pm)