Galatasaray vs Real MadridUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Oct 22, 2019, Turk Telekom Arena
REAL MADRID head to Turkey in desperate need of a win after a dreadful start to their Champions League campaign but Galatasaray will be determined to pile on the pain.
Europe has offered a refuge from Real's domestic troubles in recent years, with the Bernabeu giants winning the Champions League in four of the last six seasons while finishing top of La Liga just once in the same spell.
But that has been turned on its head this term, with Zinedine Zidane's side bottom of their group in Europe and leading the way in Spain until a shock weekend loss in Mallorca let Barcelona knock them off the summit.
They began their Group A campaign with a demoralising 3-0 defeat by PSG in Paris as former player Angel Di Maria ran rings around the ropey Real Madrid defence.
Those deficiencies at the back were then underlined on Matchday Two as Club Brugge stunned the Bernabeu by racing into a 2-0 lead by half-time.
VAR came to their rescue as a Sergio Ramos goal that was ruled out for offside was allowed to stand and Casemiro completed the comeback by levelling five minutes from time.
While a 2-2 draw was another desperately disappointing result, it was far from fatal in terms of the group as it left Real level on points with Galatasaray and just one adrift of Brugge.
But the heat is on heading to Istanbul where a defeat will leave Zidane's side playing serious catch-up in the group. The stats suggest Real Madrid will get back on track, however, as they have won four of their last five games against Turkish opposition while Gala have lost four in a row against Spanish sides.
These teams met in the group stage back in season 2013/14 and the aggregate score was 10-2 to Real, winning 6-1 in Istanbul before easing to a 4-1 success at the Bernabeu.
But that came in the days when Cristiano Ronaldo was in his pomp, with the Portuguese superstar netting a hat-trick when Galatasaray were hit for six.
Real Madrid still haven't replaced Ronaldo, with marquee summer signing Eden Hazard yet to get into his stride, and could falter again on the European stage.
After a decent point on the road at Brugge in their opener, Galatasaray were unlucky to lose 1-0 at home to PSG thanks to a strike from Mauro Icardi. The Turks are a generous 114/100 with Marathonbet in the double chance market, which also pays out on the draw, and that might be a decent option.
But this match is a tough one to call so I'd stay clear of a bet on the result. Instead, go for goals as Real Madrid have kept just three clean sheets all season while Galatasaray scored three in a five-goal thriller at home to Sivasspor on Friday night.
Both teams to score is a best 8/11 with Boylesports while over 3.5 goals appeals at 7/4 with Unibet. It promises to be quite a tight game so backing a one-goal winning margin for either side also looks good at 13/8 with Betway.
Marquee Galatasaray signing Radamel Falcao hasn't played since the last Champions League outing due to an Achilles injury but the club are doing everything they can to get him fit to face Real.
Florin Andone has filled his boots in the last few games and did his chances of starting against Real no harm with a double in that victory over Sivasspor. The former Brighton striker is 14/5 with Betway in the anytime scorer market but it might be safer to back Dutchman Ryan Babel at 15/4 with the same firm as the Romanian may not start.
Hazard has netted just once since his summer move from Chelsea to the Bernabeu but the Belgian is too good a player for that drought to continue. He will be fresh after missing the defeat in Mallorca following the birth of his fourth child.
Footballers often get a bit of luck after having a kid, letting them rehash that famous Bebeto goal celebration, so Hazard looks a decent option at 7/5 with William Hill to net at anytime.
Galatasaray away is one of the most intimidating fixtures in world football and the crowd can spook even teams with vast experience of massive games like Real Madrid. For that reason, it could pay to back the Turks to score first, which is 85/40 at Marathonbet.
This UEFA Champions League match between Galatasaray and Real Madrid will be played on Oct 22, 2019 and kick off at 20:00