Galatasaray vs Schalke – Wednesday, October 24, 20:00BST/21:00 CEST – Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi, Istanbul, Turkey
Galatasaray had an impressive start to their Champions League campaign. The Turkish champions put away Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0 at home to open the campaign. But since then the club coached by Fatih Terim has hit some roadblocks.
A 1-0 defeat to Porto on matchday 2 and several injuries have caused some headaches among the coaching staff at Galatasaray. “The punishment by UEFA now hurts us significantly,” Terim told the media on the weekend. Due to debts in the region of €470 million Galatasaray was among the clubs punished for breaches of UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations ahead of this season.
Cimbom managed to reach a settlement agreement with UEFA to avoid suspension from UEFA competitions. As part of that settlement agreement, the Turkish champions were allowed to register just 21 of the usual 25 players for this season’s Champions League. Injuries to Sofiane Feghouli, Fernando and defender Serdar Aziz in the 1-1 draw against Bursaspor meant that Terim had to make three substitutions in the first half. The three together with forward Onyekuru will miss likely miss the game on Wednesday.
Nonetheless, Galatasaray are first in the standings in the Turkish Süper Lig and in Schalke are now facing a side that is somewhat struggling at the moment. Die Königsblauen finished last season in second place behind champions Bayern München but largely benefitted from the weakness of other Bundesliga sides.
Playing pragmatic football Schalke carved out several narrow victories last campaign. This season head coach Domenico Tedesco was charged with making the next step by adding a more cultural approach to Schalke’s football. The result has been somewhat disappointing with Schalke losing six of their first eight Bundesliga games.
On Saturday night Schalke hosted emerging Werder Bremen and were soundly beaten 2-0. “We have had six 50-50 games this season, and we lost five of them,” sporting director Christian Heidel said to the media after the game. “Last season it was the other way around. We had plenty of games that were on a knives edge, but we ended up winning those games, now we are losing them,” Heidel added. As a result, Schalke are now in 16th-spot in the Bundesliga standings – ten points behind fourth-place, which would be enough to qualify for the Champions League once again.
The main problem in the Bundesliga has been efficiency in front of the goal. The sort of efficiency Schalke has demonstrated in the Champions League. In Europe, Schalke drew Porto 1-1 and beat Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 in Russia. Both games were 50-50 games in which Schalke demonstrated many of the qualities they were showing in the Bundesliga last season. That should provide a sense of optimism when die Königsblauen travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray on Wednesday as Schalke should have enough to get at least one point from that match.
Galatasaray vs Schalke – Players to look out for:
Eren Derdiyok #9 – Galatasaray
Eren Derdiyok will be Galatasaray’s key player against Schalke. The former Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim striker has managed four goals in eight Süper Lig games and also scored a fantastic freekick on matchday 1 against Lokomotiv Moscow. Derdiyok has an excellent relationship with the attacking midfielders Younes Belhanda and Garry Rodrigues, who both can play a killer pass to the Swiss striker.
Alexander Nübel #35 – Schalke
Goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann’s injury in the warmup against Werder Bremen only caused a brief headache for Tedesco. After all, in Alexander Nübel Schalke have one of the most promising goalkeeper talents in Germany available on the bench. The 22-year-old was not to blame for Schalke’s defeat against Werder and showed no nerves throughout the 90 minutes. “We have no worries when Alex instead of Ralf is in goal,” Heidel and Tedesco told the media ahead of the Galatasaray game. Nübel’s ability to come up with a solution when the ball is passed back to him, and his understanding of to read the penalty box make Nübel a special talent. Hence, with Fährmann likely out for the match against Galatasaray nobody in Gelsenkirchen is truly worried about Nübel being able to fill the void left by the captain in goal.
Galatasaray vs Schalke – Match Stats
- Galatasaray are in the group stage for the 15th time – the same number as all other Turkish teams combined.
- Galatasaray came out on top when the teams met in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League round of 16. A 1-1 draw in Istanbul left the tie in the balance, but the Turkish side – coached then, as now, by Fatih Terim – progressed to the last eight thanks to a 3-2 success in Gelsenkirchen.
- Cimbom’s last home game against Bundesliga visitors ended in a 4-0 UEFA Champions League group stage defeat by Borussia Dortmund in October 2014. The Turkish team have not won in their last seven home games against German clubs (D4 L3) – a run lasting 26 years
- Schalke have won their last three away UEFA Champions League fixtures, including a remarkable 4-3 success at Real Madrid in the 2014/15 round of 16-second leg – although they were eliminated 5-4 on aggregate.
- Die Königsblauen have lost only two of their last 13 away European engagements (W8 D3).
- Schalke have drawn all three of their away games against Turkish clubs, sharing 3-3 draws with both Trabzonspor and Fenerbahçe prior to the 2013 game at Galatasaray that ended 1-1.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Galatasaray vs Schalke – 1-1
Galatasaray vs Schalke – Lineups
Muslera – Mariano, Maicon, Ahmet Calik, Nagatomo – Badou, Donk – Garry Rodrigues, Belhanda, Gümüs – Derdiyok
Head Coach: Fatih Terim
FC Schalke 04:
Nübel – Nastasić, Naldo Sané – Schöpf, McKennie, Mascarell, Serdar, Caligiuri – Burgstaller, Embolo
Head Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.