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UEFA Champions League preview: Galatasaray v Schalke

Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba should renew his love affair with the Champions League when his new club take on Schalke on Wednesday.

Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba should renew his love affair with the Champions League when his new club take on Schalke on Wednesday.

Drogba’s team will host Schalke in a round-of-16 first leg and if Galatasaray head coach Fatih Terim is at all attracted to the idea of starting the Ivory Coast striker against the Germans, he should act on that temptation.

Having scored on his Galatasaray debut on Friday, Drogba should be able to get through at least an hour against Schalke and with his record of 39 goals in 75 Champions League matches, Terim should be able to rely on the 34-year-old striker to perform at Turk Telekom Arena.

Drogba, who joined Galatasaray from Shanghai Shenhua in January, sits ninth on the all-time goal-scorers charts in the Champions League era, just three behind former Juventus forward Alessandro Del Piero.

Plus, the last time Drogba played against Schalke, in a Champions League group stage match in the 2007/08 season, he scored as Chelsea won 2-0.

Galatasaray head into Wednesday’s game top of the Turkish Super Lig having won three of their past four games, while they are also on a three-match winning streak in the Champions League.

Drogba came off the bench in the 63rd minute of Galatasaray’s 2-1 win away to Akhisar Belediyespor on Friday and scored the opening goal, a typically powerful header after he out-jumped two opponents.

Terim should have plenty of confidence that his team can grab a first-leg lead against Schalke as the German club are in the middle of a terrible slump in the Bundesliga.

Schalke have won just one of their past 12 matches and sit ninth in the Bundesliga having failed to triumph in their past four fixtures.

Jens Keller, Schalke’s head coach since replacing Huub Stevens in December, will make his Champions League debut in Istanbul.

Schalke came from behind twice on Saturday to earn a 2-2 draw away to Mainz with Brazilian winger Michel Bastos scoring both goals.

Bastos has provided much much-needed spark to Schalke’s play since he arrived from Lyon in January, scoring three goals in as many games for the Gelsenkirchen-based club.

Mon 18 February, 2013
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