Galatasaray vs Real Madrid (Champions League Quarter Final)


A suspension to Buruk Yilmaz robs Fatih Terim of his top scorer, so Galatasaray will pair Umut Bulut alongside Didier Drogba in attack. With both Tomas Ujfalusi (injured) and Dany Nounkeu (suspended) missing in defence Gokhan Zan should come in alongside Semih Kaya.

Jose Mourinho is without the suspended Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso – although how upset he will be about that is debatable. Pepe and Luka Modric should come in. Otherwise Real Madrid should start their first choice side, but expect key players to be removed if the tie is wrapped up with an early away goal.

Few would deny this tie is over, but a tactical contest still remains. Terim attempted an ambitious and aggressive policy in the first leg that left Galatasaray vulnerable at the back and they paid the price. For this game he somehow needs to adjust his system to become more solid, yet find at least three goals. Madrid will play their usual way and expect to kill the game by half time. 

Possible line-ups.

Possible line-ups.

Wesley Sneijder

The signing of Wesley Sneijder has seen Terim drop a traditional midfield four in favour of a narrow midfield trio behind the Dutch playmaker, who now seems intent on filling a free role in whatever team he graces. Clearly Sneijder is a liability in a game against stronger opposition who have players capable of creating chances from all areas of the pitch. Galatasaray were arguably brave to field him in the first leg rather than deploy a more disciplined midfielder, and yet Sneijder’s reputation – and salary – almost demands his inclusion.

Terim is experienced enough to know that Galatasaray would have a far greater chance to stifle Madrid without Sneijder in the side, but equally they have a far greater of creating chances with him. Clearly goals are a priority and the playmaker is a sure starter, but his inclusion in the first leg was arguably a large reason for their hopeless position ahead of this one.

Galatasaray’s Midfield

Terim may stick with Sneijder, but he surely has to change his role. Knowing that the Dutchman would fail to press Madrid’s deep midfield pairing of Alonso and Sami Khedira, Terim instructed his deeper midfielders to press high up the pitch in the first leg. Unfortunately all this left was a huge space between the lines for Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria to exploit. Therefore if he sticks with the same formation Terim has a choice – instruct his midfielders to engage Modric and Khedira once again, and hope the home side’s defenders have the games of their lives, or ask them to be more conservative and hope to influence the game from a deeper position.

Alternatively Terim may change his shape – a forward could be sacrificed for a winger to make a 4-4-1-1, or Sneijder could be moved wide in a 4-4-2. Both options would be a gamble considering the team’s comfort in a 4-3-1-2, but clearly a change is necessary.


For anybody that saw the first leg, or even the highlights, explaining how Madrid can cause Galatasaray problems is a waste of time. The away side have greater creativity through the centre, better awareness of space in attack and a numerical advantage on both flanks. The chances of Mourinho’s side not scoring are pretty slim.

For Galatasaray, they may not like to admit it but the exercise is really more about demonstrating that they have the capacity to compete at this level rather than holding any hope of progression. Irrespective of the tie, avoiding defeat would be a moral victory for the home side.

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