The UEFA Champions League quarter-finals begin on Tuesday with Real Madrid and Tottenham facing off, while Internazionale host Schalke 04.>
Real Madrid v Tottenham @ Santiago Bernabeu
Form -Real Madrid are currently second in La Liga -Real lost 1-0 at home on the weekend to Gijon. -The loss to Gijon was Jose Mourinho’s first home defeat in nine years. -Real had previously won their past five matches in all competitions with Karim Benzema in good goalscoring form.
-Tottenham are currently fifth in the Premier League. -Spurs come into this game on the back of a five game winless streak in all competitions. -Tottenham haven’t scored in their past three matches.
Team news -Real Madrid will be without in-form striker Karim Benzema in a major blow. -Cristiano Ronaldo is fit after a hamstring worry, while Gonzalo Higuain returned on the weekend after several months out with a back injury.
-Tottenham will be buoyed by Gareth Bale being available after a hamstring complaint. -Defender William Gallas will face a crucial fitness test due to a knee injury, with defenders Ledley King, Alan Hutton, Jonathan Woodgate and Younes Kaboul already ruled out.
Coaches Jose Mourinho: “A draw at home is always a good result in the Champions League, especially if it’s 0-0.”
He added: “It’s time to think about the Champions League. This is a match many teams would like to play in and not all can. It’s a few years since Madrid reached this round and a few years since the Bernabéu saw this stage. Whoever is playing in the quarter-finals has only got to think about that.”
Harry Redknapp: “Bale gives us everything. He can carry the ball and attack very quickly. He is fine and if he is OK he will play. He could be very important for us.”
He added: “It’s a difficult game – Real Madrid are favourites, but we come here very optimistic. Real Madrid have fantastic players and we have to deal with that. We will try to give them problems and try to avoid the problems they give to us.”
Sports Pundit prediction; Real Madrid 3-0 Tottenham
Inter Milan v Schalke 04 @ San Siro
Form -Inter Milan are currently third in Italy’s Serie A. -Inter lost 3-0 to title rivals AC Milan on the weekend in a big blow to their Scudetto hopes. -The Nerazzurri have only been beaten once at home in Serie A this season. -Samuel Eto’o has been in fine goalscoring form, with 19 goals in Serie A.
-Schalke 04 are currently 11th in Germany’s Bundesliga. -Schalke had their Friday fixture against St Pauli abandoned late in the match when they were 2-0 up. -The Royal Blues recently sacked manager Felix Magath after an underwhelming league campaign. -Schalke are in the final of the German DFB Pokal to be played against second tier MSV Duisburg in May.
Team news -Diego Milito was a substitute for Inter in the weekend’s loss to AC Milan, after a thigh injury but may not be risked. -Andrea Ranocchia and Christian Chivu both played against Milan after recent worries.
-Defender Christoph Metzelder broke his nose on Friday against St Pauli, but could play with a protective mask. -Schalke are already without key striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (knee), while Peer Kluge and Mario Gavranovic were injured on the weekend and will miss.
Coaches Leonardo: “I know Schalke haven’t had many good results in the league, but they have in the Champions League so we must not underestimate them – they did not reach the quarter-finals by being lucky.”
He added: “Raúl González is symbolic of their good European campaign, he’s always a threat. He’s one of the all-time greats – he chose to leave Madrid for another country and is still dictating things.”
Ralf Rangnick: “The last [few] weeks haven’t been easy for Schalke, but in recent days the team has worked well together. You could see it in our last league game, even though tomorrow will be a completely different match. We will try to produce a good performance for the supporters.
He added: “I saw the Milan derby and I know it’s never a nice thing to lose such a game. The supporters were disappointed but their team has good qualities. In any case, we have to focus on ourselves.”
Sports Pundit prediction; Internazionale 2-0 Schalke 04