Galatasaray's home form make them favourites
At 8PM on Wednesday evening, Galatasaray will take on Schalke 04 at the Türk Telekom Stadium in Istanbul. Football fans will be aware of the Cauldron that Galatasaray's fans create at their home arena. Schalke 04 face the unenviable task of playing in this unwelcoming atmosphere, and with the squad they currently have, this could mean a really difficult night for the travelling Germans. Galatasaray will be going for all three points here.
Galatasaray have started their domestic season well, after nine games played they're first in the Süper Lig. There is some real quality in their squad, especially up front with the likes of Derdiyok, Feghouli and Rodrigues. They have shown that they're a tough team to beat at home this season, both domestically and in the Champions League. In the Süper Lig they've picked up four wins and a draw at home, and in the Champions League they beat Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0. At the Türk Telecom arena they have conceded 1.11 goals and scored 1.89 on average per game - including the Champions League - with their attacking asset, Derdiyok, scoring four goals.
There is quality throughout, including their midfield, with Fernando in a holding position. There are some injury concerns surrounding Fernando and Feghouli, but they have been deemed fit to start on Wednesday. Otherwise, the Turkish team will head into Wednesday's clash with a full squad; couple that with their excellent form and their superb home atmosphere and Fatih Termin's men are the clear favourites to win this match.
Before every season there is optimism surrounding Schalke 04. But as soon as the season starts you're reminded how frequently this big-club underperforms. After eight games played in the Bundesliga, the Gelsenkirchen based team lie in the relegation zone. They have picked two wins and suffered six defeats with a goal difference of -6, which is made all the more worse by the fact that they have mainly met the league's weaker teams. Away from home, they have picked up three defeats and a win. Their only win on the road came against relegation-favourites Düsseldorf.
It simply isn't clicking for Tedesco's team and it's difficult to know why. They do have good players in Embolo, Rudy and Betaleb but so far no-one has scored more than one goal and something is very obviously not right.
In the Champions League, Schalke have played a little better, with a 1-1 draw away at Porto and a 0-1 win away against Lokomotiv Moscow. Now, they will play Galatasaray away, a match which is clearly their toughest match in the Champions League so far this season. The German's also have a small injury crisis, with five of their starting eleven at-risk of missing the trip to Istanbul- these include Embolo, Stambouli and Fährmann. A draw for Schalke here would be a great result for them.
Galatasaray are in my opinion the clear favourites to win this match. They are in-form and strong at home. They also have quality in their squad and a manager who can get the job done. Schalke have started the season in their usual slow manner but now they also have an especially poor away-form and a host of injuries to worry about. Schalke's only chance is to grab an early goal, but the most likely outcome is that Galatasaray will dominate and win the match. I will bet on a Galatasaray win, or your money back with a draw. I like to hedge my bets slightly when you factor in the unpredictability of tournament matches.