The fight for the Champions League semi-finals is on, and Real Madrid faces the first of two rounds to secure their spot in the playoff. Real, the side that has played the most quarter-finals in the history of the competition (30 including this playoff), is out to lock down their 24th appearance in the semi-finals. Not only will the squad have the invaluable backing of the Bernabeu on their side for this first leg, but the numbers are in the Whites’ favour: the team led by coach Jose Mourinho has gone 14 months without tasting defeat and has racked up 27 straight matches scoring at home. Yet it won’t be easy. Real faces Galatasaray, undisputed leader of the Turkish league and a team that has picked up three wins in their last three away games in Europe’s top competition.
Forty-nine days later the Champions League returns to the Santiago Bernabeu for what by all accounts will be a thrilling match. Neither team plans to hold anything back and both Real Madrid and Galatasaray will take to the pitch with a clear offensive mentality. That’s what Cristiano Ronaldo expects: “The game will be wide open and very balanced. We know that it’s a squad that also attacks a lot and that’s good, because our chances of winning increase when the opponent plays us one-on-one”.