Soccer Picks: Galatasaray vs. Schalke in Champion League

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 6:48 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 6:48 PM UTC

 Didier Drogba will try to make his mark once more when Galatasaray plays host to Schalke in the first leg of their Champions League tie. Will the Turks get the job done? Read on to find out who we are backing with our Champions League picks.

Odds Overview

Despite being at home and in first place in the Super Lig, Galatasary is not a huge favorite for this week's first leg. They have been set as 6/5 favorites.

Schalke can be backed at 43/20 to secure a win ahead of a return trip back home. A draw is at 9/4 on the soccer odds board.


Right now Gala is in first place in Turkey's top league, ahead of Fenerbahce by four points. They've gone undefeated over their last four league games, while winning both of their home clashes during that span.

The Turkish outfit have made a couple gigantic splashes in the transfer market over the last couple of months, signing both Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder.

Drogba made an instant impact, scoring the winner in his debut, leading to a 2-1 win over Akhisar Belediye on Friday. It came on a terrific header, showcasing the Ivorian's strength and desire in the air.

Obviously both he and Sneijder are world-class in their own right, but Gala still has some pressing issues defensively, some of which could very well be exploited by a Schalke side not void of goalscoring ability.

During the group stages of the Champions League, the Turks had a mixed bag of results at home. They lost to Braga and tied CFR Cluj-Napoca, but then beat Manchester United 1-0 in one of the more historic wins in Galatasary history.

Schalke 04

It hasn't been the best of seasons for Schalke, who currently reside in ninth place in the Bundesliga. Though they're 27 points back of Bayern Munich, they are just seven points behind fourth-place, so there's still a lot to play for.

Recent results have been far from encouraging however. Schalke has failed to win any of their last four league matches, which includes an embarrassing 2-1 home defeat to SpVgg Greuther Furth.

On the season, the Royal Blues have won just two of their 11 matches away from home during Bundesliga play. They've given up an alarming number of goals (22) in those fixtures, a worrying sign ahead of this trip to Turkey.

Schalke has been trying to move on since the departure of Lewis Holtby, but have had a hard time finding someone who can replicate his playmaking ability.

The good news is that Dutch striker Klaas Jan-Huntelaar, who had been dealing with an eye injury, has finally been cleared to play again. He will assuredly go right back into the starting XI, considering the German side has had trouble finding the back of the net in his absence.

Check out our free picks for the AC Milan vs. Barcelona Champions League battle.


Champions League Pick

It's going to take quite a disciplined performance if the German outfit is to get even a draw out of this trip to Turkey.

The atmosphere in these  games is something to behold and is even crazier when it comes to European ties. The Turkish fans will be out in full force here, and now the supporters have even more world-class talent to cheer on.

Still, despite Schalke's troubles in the league, they have the attacking quality to give Gala trouble.

So while we ultimately think the hosts will get the win, this match could easily be won by the visitors if they come out and assert themselves. Don't be surprised if Huntelaar immediately gets back into the swing of things with a goal either, but when it comes to placing our Champions League picks, im going with a Galatasary victory.

Champions League Pick: Galatasary-2 Schalke 04-1

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