Galatasaray vs. Schalke, 2013 UEFA Champions League draw: Under the radar, but promising

Christof Koepsel

The first tie drawn will escape most media attention, but it shapes up nicely as a clash between two evenly matched teams

Schalke are in a bit of a mess at the moment having slipped to seventh in the Bundesliga, with manager Huub Stevens losing his job as a result of the dip in form. There's no coach tied down long-term at present, but one would expect that a decision will be made sooner rather than later, and that the new man would be able to bring the squad together once more for an assault on qualifying for the next round of continental play.

That job will entail getting past a Galatasaray side that performed as expected in a simple group - they got beaten by a superior Manchester United and did the business against CFR Cluj and Braga to qualify. They'll fancy their chances of progressing further.

Player to watch

Felipe Melo - It's been a long time since many have encountered the bruising midfielder who hardly endeared himself to the majority with some particularly physical performances for the national side. But he is beginning to find his feet again for the Turkish side in midfield after an insipid spell at Juventus, and will have an important role in shutting down the creativity of Lewis Holtby. Don't expect this sighting of Melo to be any different than last time, however - he's the same battering, aggressive player that most came to hate

Key matchup

Jefferson Farfan v Hakan Balta - The pedigree of the Peruvian winger has fallen somewhat in the past years, but on his day he's a devastating talent who provides good width and pace down the right. He'll square up directly against Balta, an intelligent defender with good positional sense and currently one of the team captains. Julian Draxler or Ibrahim Affelay will play on the opposite side and drift more centrally, meaning Farfan will be reasonable for isolating Balta in one-on-one situations. This might become a key feature if Emre Colak continues to be lax in tracking back to protect Balta as he has been in recent weeks.

Prediction

Extra time - It's difficult to make a firm assessment on how this tie is going to pan out, considering Schalke are in a bit of a rabble at the moment. A new coach should be able to restore the rigid, structured system that was successful in overcoming Arsenal earlier this season, but Galatasaray might benefit from having an established coach and an established style. Fatih Terim is an astute tactician, and one certainly wouldn't bet against his side qualifying for the quarter finals.

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