Wednesday Champions League Preview
In this first ever competitive meeting between Galatasaray (6/5) and Schalke (23/10, Draw 11/5) the German side will be looking to extend their unbeaten run in this year's competition. They should be confident of doing just that against a Galatasaray side taking part in their first knockout phase since 2000/01 season, where they were knocked out by Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.
This is Schalke's third appearance in the knockout phase, they got there in 2007/08 and 2010/11 and have never lost against a Turkish side. However both matches they have played in Turkey have ended with a 3-3 scoreline. If you see a repeat we will offer (66/1)
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has scored four goals in five starts in the Champions League this season and we have him at (11/2 first/last and 6/4 to score at anytime). We also have our Headline offer on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to score at anytime and Schalke to win at 4/1.
Galatasaray have won their last three Champions League games. They have never won four on the bounce in the competition, but against German opposition their record is a little less special. They have won none of their last five home games against German sides with two defeats and three draws.
They have scored only seven goals in six Champions League games this season, the joint-lowest among the 16 teams qualified for the knockout stages. That total could have been greater though as they struck the woodwork more times than any other team in the group stages.
Burak Yilmaz scored six of Galatsaray's 7 goals in the group stages this season. He was the joint-top scorer in the group phase along with Cristiano Ronaldo and we have him at 13/2 to score the first/last goal and 15/8 to score at anytime. Didier Drogba has scored 39 goals in the Champions League, only Lionel Messi with 56 and Cristiano Ronaldo (44) have been more prolific among current players in the competition. He's netted seven goals and delivered two assists in his last nine Champions League games. He is 4/1 to score the first or last goal and even money to score at anytime. Should he score in a Galatsaray win we have him at a cracking 3/1.
These teams are not the quickest starters as 13 of the 17 goals scored by Galatasaray and Schalke combined in the group stages came in the second-half. So a wager on the first goal to be scored from the 46th minute and over may be the way to go here.
Didier Drogba To Score and Galatasaray To Win - 3/1
This fixture is becoming as regular as a league match as AC Milan (6/1) and Barcelona (8/15 Draw 11/4) have played each other, including this tie, no fewer than 5 times in the past two seasons.
The time is never right to play Barcelona but AC Milan must be fearing the worst. Among the teams in the Champions League last 16, AC Milan are the only one who have yet to win at home in this season's competition. Their last home win the competition was a year ago, against Arsenal. They have only scored one goal in their last four games at the San Siro in the Champions League and have had 58 shots (incl. blocked) at home in the Champions League but only one of them has found the back of the net so far.
Stephan El Shaarawy is by far and away the clubs top scorer this season with 15 goals to his name and we have him at 15/2 to score the first/last goal and 9/4 to score at anytime. Had a certain Lionel Messi not been likely to play, the 15/2 would have been a lot shorter. Of those 15 goals 4 have come as the first in the game. We have also enhanced the price on him to score in an AC Milan win to 10/1.
AC Milan have only won one of their last 10 knockout games in the Champions League, against Arsenal at home in the last 16 last season and their ast win over Barcelona came way back in October 2004 at the San Siro in the group stages of this competition.
No side have picked up more bookings than AC Milan in the group stages this season with 17 so if they are to find a way to win, over 3 AC Milan cards could be a good bet at 12/5.
Barcelona are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with AC Milan, winning 4 and drawing 3 and have only been beaten twice in their previous 24 matches, both against British opposition; remember Celtic's famous victory in the group stages?
Lionel Messi has had a massive part to play in that run. He has scored 56 goals in 74 Champions League games and is the competitions 2nd highest ever scorer, only Raul has scored more (71 goals in 142 games). If you fancy him to score the first or last goal this time out we will offer you 7/4. To score at anytime he is 2/5. We have also enhanced the price on him to score in a Barcelona win to Evens.
Three of the four players who completed the most passes in the opposition half during the group stages play for Barcelona: Xavi (551), Messi (303) and Iniesta (302). And they also boast the highest possession percentage of over 75%.
Stephan El Shaarawy To Score and AC Milan To Win - 10/1
Lionel Messi To Score and Barcelona To Win - Evs
Worth a Punt:
AC Milan to Win - 6/1
Over 6 cards - 7/2