Match Recap: Champions League – Real Madrid v Schalke

22 Feb

FC Schalke 04 v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

Wednesday we traveled to Gelsenkirchen for the first Round of 16 match against Schalke. Okay, technically we traveled on Tuesday but you know what I’m getting at.

Schalke is a team I would really like to see play. I absolutely love their manager, Roberto Di Matteo. And their stadium is pretty cool. Their tunnel is incredible, but I’ll get to that a little later.

I was really ready for this match. I just hoped the boys were too. Di Matteo has done great things with his team at Schalke. As usual, I was confident in our abilities but I knew that Raul’s other team were going to be tough.

The pre-match tweets were quite standard.

Illara said they were “Eager to continue in Champions League against an opponent that brings good memories!”

Iker was psyched for the game.

Derik got in on the fun with this photo of him and Bale challenging each other for a header.

Jese expressed the feeling of how important this match was.

Arbeloa looked forward to making history.

Toni was excited !!!

I love Gareth’s “Vamos Equipo!”

I still want to know if this photo is Karim’s phone background

FC Schalke 04 v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

Remember I said the tunnel at Veltins Arena is really cool? Well, that photo above is their tunnel. They have a close relationship with the mining community in Gelsenkirchen and so the tunnel is designed to be reminiscent of one of those mines. I think it’s ominous and plays a psychological role when teams have to play there. Thoughts?

I have to confess now, I have a problem. You’ve probably figured this out by now, but I am slowly falling for Kroos. He’s just so awkward and I find myself giggling at him all the time. I find it endearing in much the same way that I find Benzema’s selfies endearing. This match was great for Toni moments, so I’m sorry for lots and lots of him. And Lucas Silva, actually.

Told you.

Lineups:

Schalke: Timon Wellenreuther; Atsuto Uchida, Benedikt Howedes, Joel Matip, Matija Nastasic, Dennis Aogo; Roman Neustadter, Marco Hoger, Kevin-Prince Boateng; Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

Schalke starters

Real Madrid: Iker Casillas; Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Lucas Silva, Toni Kroos, Isco; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid starters

Schalke was using their third choice keeper, who is only 19 years old. Huntelaar was only just back from injury. We saw the full debut of Lucas Silva, which was relatively exciting. I was looking forward to seeing how he fit into the lineup. I often rue the club’s desire to sign all the shiny new midfielders but at times like this, when we have so many injuries, I’m quite glad we have the depth.

Still without Sergio, we’re still without pre-match besos. But we did get some of Iker’s “blue steel” practice.

There must be more to life…

than being really ridiculously good-looking

And I can’t handle Toni’s wink. I cannot handle it at all.

We got lined up out on the pitch and listened to the gloriousness that is the CL anthem (which I still swear says something about Barca).

 

It was Schalke that kicked off. We won possession and held onto it but the first five minutes were pretty devoid of chances for either side. The 5th minute, however, Benzema had a chance but was offside.

Kevin-Prince Boateng had a chance in the 7th minute, but it was Isco that was there to keep him from threatening too much.

Toni earned a yellow card in the 9th minute and was quite adamant in disagreeing with it. So was Cris.

In the 13th minute, Lucas Silva brought Hoger down just outside the box but the impending freekick was driven into the wall.

The first true chance of the match came in the 21st minute when Huntelaar worked the ball to Aogo but he shot high of the crossbar.

Martin Atkinson, the referee, was making quite a few questionable tackles go and no one was very happy about. I know I wasn’t.

Iker was forced to make a save on a Huntelaar shot in the 26th minute. I was a bit nervous about it. Both teams seemed to be a bit lethargic out there, but it seems to always bite us first. Luckily, in the 27th minute we got our first goal!

Dani played in a gorgeous cross and Cris got his head to it in wonderful fashion.

It was Cristiano’s first goal since January 18. Now, keep in mind he was suspended for two matches.

We had another great chance through Benzema in the 32nd minute, but Wellenreuther made a good save to deny him.

In the 33rd minute, Huntelaar had to be replaced. He’d been injured in a tackle from Varane a couple of minutes earlier. He was replaced by Platte, who is also 19. So the two extreme ends of the Schalke lineup were babies.

The next booking was to Boateng in the 34th minute after a late challenge on Cris. It was coming for Boateng. It resulted in a freekick in a dangerous area. Cris stepped up to take it, struck it fabulously, but Wellenreuther made a great save!

We had another great chance for Cris to get a second goal in the 40th minute, but again Wellenreuther was there to make a great save.

We had three minutes of extra time in which Neustadter was booked for holding onto Benz and that was it for the first half. It was not very exciting.

Second Half:

Neither Di Matteo or Ancelotti made any changes going into the second half. I swear they are in tune with each other somehow. It’s that Chelsea connection.

In the 49th minute, Schalke pushed forward but Platte couldn’t do much with it. We were dominating the majority of possession. Despite that, Aogo had a shot in the 51st minute that Iker was able to make easy work of.

We had a couple more great chances that were saved by Wellenreuther. What a fabulous match he was having!

In the 57th minute, Di Matteo made his second change as Kirchoff replaced Neustadter.

The first yellow card of the second half happened in the 63rd minute for a late challenge on Dani. It was Kirchoff that picked up the deserved booking. Unfortunately, Dani was down for a while. And when he did get up, it seemed he was struggling a bit.

In the 68th minute, Hoger nearly equalized but his shot hit the side. I don’t know about you guys, but I was a bit nervy!

We had a chance in the 72nd minute with a volley from Isco but it rose too high and over the crossbar. Then Benzema was hacked down by Howedes and earned a freekick. The kick was taken by Cris but it was straight into the wall.

In the 75th minute I gasped very loudly as Platte took a shot and it smashed the crossbar. The follow up shot was fluffed, thanks to Marcelo getting in the way. I thanked the soccer gods and Iker thanked the crossbar.

In the 78th minute, we had a goal from the War Kitten disallowed because he was offside when Bale played the ball forward. He was, in the same minute, substituted for Chicharito.

We got goal number 2 in the 79th minute. Cris cut the ball inside, layed it off the Marcelo and he hit a beautiful strike into the far corner. Fangirling commenced!

He ran over and celebrated with Ancelotti. It was fabulous!

After that goal, Schalke made their third sub with Meyer replacing Hoger. And our second substitution was Arbeloa for a struggling Carvajal. And Illara replaced Isco in the 85th minute after Pepe cleared a possible Schalke chance on goal.

Schalke looked like they intended on grabbing a late goal up until the ref added four minutes of extra time. Then the play started getting very end-to-end. But Schalke weren’t able to beat our defense and keeper. Final score was 2-0 in our favor.

Match Photos:

Post-Match Comments:

Ancelotti post match

Ancelotti:

“Ronaldo played well. He scored and provided an assist”, pronounced the Italian.

Carlo Ancelotti assessed Real Madrid’s first leg win against Schalke 04 in the Champions League round of 16: “We needed to play like that, with that kind of attitude and performance. And everything worked out well in the end. The team were serious and efficient and the opposition were pegged back from the get go. Once we got the first goal, we controlled the game”.

“It was a good match. We started well, with a good game plan, trying to utilise the wings because Marcelo and Caravajal provided us with more space. Following that, we tried to attack deep with our three forwards. We were patient during the first half in our search for a goal, and once that came we controlled the match. We were only in trouble on one occasion”.

Pepe’s return
“He is a player with lots of experience, character and an ability to control the back line. His presence in today’s match against Schalke 04 was hugely important”.

“Cristiano played well. He scored and provided an assist. He’s back. The team does not panic when Cristiano fails to score in one or two games. Everyone knows that if he doesn’t score in one or two games, he will in the next match”.

Marcelo’s goal celebration
“There was nothing particularly special about it. The only reason it surprised me is because I’m not used to seeing him score with his right. I was so surprised by that goal that I didn’t make my way onto the pitch”.

Lucas Silva’s first start
“I went with him because he had fresher legs, having barely played on Sunday. His fitness has improved. He imposed order and showed his personality on the pitch. He kept things very simple and had good ideas. His personality has surprised me. It is not easy playing for Real Madrid for the first time at 22 years of age”.

Marcelo post match

Marcelo:

“We fought really hard and enjoyed it out on the pitch”, said the full-back, who scored with a superb right-footed drive.

Marcelo hit Real Madrid’s second goal against Schalke with a wonderful right-foot strike into the top corner. After the final whistle, he gave his view on the tie: “Anything can happen in the Champions League. To go through, we have to show humility and work hard as we have done. Schalke are a top team and they made it very difficult for us. We have a two-goal lead but nothing is settled.”

“We have to get back to our form from last year, and we’re on track. Today we fought really hard. It was a good game, we enjoyed it out on the pitch and we have to continue in this vein.”

Goal celebration
“The goal was for my niece, who has just been born. I also wanted to celebrate it with the coach, with Keylor, with Chicharito, with Benzema, with everyone. We’re like a family here.”

Cristiano Ronaldo
“I don’t think he’s obsessed by scoring. The goals come when the team works hard and what’s important is the win.”

Pepe post match

Pepe:

Pepe returned to the starting line-up after recovering from injury. The central defender discussed his thoughts: “I felt good, comfortable, happy with the job my team-mates did and the job I did. We knew that we had to compete well and fight hard to get a positive result, and that’s what we did.”

“We’ve put ourselves on the right track in the tie and we’re happy. There are 90 minutes still to play in our stadium. We haven’t been on a good run, but it’s normal. We have a lot of quality players, Real Madrid have a deep squad”.

Cristiano Ronaldo
“He is like he is always, happy and encouraging his team-mates. That is what we want from him, for him to transmit that happiness within the dressing room. I’m content with his continuous work to help out his team-mates. We are delighted for him. He knows he is playing for Real Madrid and is aware of the pressure that entails, but we are by his side”.

Lucas Silva
“He has really surprised me, he has a lot of quality. He has come to help us but we have to show patience because we know that this is Real Madrid. He will be talked about a lot in the future because he is a very humble guy, he has his feet on the ground and he likes to work”. 

Casillas:

“The first goal put us at ease”
“We leave here happy. It wasn’t easy but I think the first goal really put us at ease, while it caused Schalke to open up more in defence. What mattered most was getting a good result and heading back to Madrid feeling positive. Marcelo is having a sensational season and his goal was the icing on the cake tonight. We hope that he can continue scoring goals”.

“When Cristiano goes one, two or three games without scoring, even though continues to provided assists, it’s treated as big news. We were calm about it all because we knew he would score. It was important that he did because it gives him, as well as the rest of us, confidence”.

Clean sheet
“Keeping a clean sheet is very important in these knockout ties. That is the team’s intention, as well as scoring a goal. We had some good fortune on our side with the woodwork working in our favour, and long may that continue”.

The fans
“They have the right to applaud or protest as they see fit and we as professionals have to accept that. We would all like them to applaud us but that is for us to sort out. We have to work in order for them to cheer us on. Our objective is for Real Madrid to continue lifting the biggest titles so the fans have something to celebrate”.

Isco:

“We leave here very satisfied”
“This result fills us with confidence. We got back to playing well and we leave here extremely satisfied after winning 0-2 in a difficult ground. We were eager to win by playing well and the unity of the team is really important for achieving great things”.

“I feel myself getting better all the time, I’m growing to like helping out in defence to win back possession. That makes me a more rounded player and above all else means I’m contributing more to the team”.

Carvajal:

“We dominated”
“The team were more at ease on the pitch today. We dominated in almost every facet of play and we leave here happy. We tried to play at level we need to be at”.

We are still top of La Liga and we have taken a big step towards the Champions League quarter-finals. We look on the bright side when we receive criticism in order to improve, become more united and play at our best each weekend”.

Marcelo and Ancelotti’s hug
“I didn’t pay much attention to that gesture, but it reflects how tight we are. We are all together and we are united as a team”.

Social Media Corner:

Iker was looking ahead to the next match in La Liga. He also acknowledged the good way to start our run in this round of Champions League.

Dani was also excited about a good result at Veltins Arena and shared this photo of his injured foot.

Illara got in on the action and acknowledged that Schalke isn’t an easy match.

Then there was this tweet and photo from Arbeloa. It was retweeted by most of our boys. I just love that they provide us with these clothing optional moments. Look at Dani and Iker! “Paint me like one of your French girls!”

Dani is full on “here’s my tighty whities” up in the front. But why on earth are Iker and Varane so clothed?!  And look where Cristiano’s hand is!

¡Hala Madrid!

-mygypsyspirit

(images and gifs courtesy of GF Sports, the-vip-football-collection, football-hqs, and realmadrid.com)

One Response to “Match Recap: Champions League – Real Madrid v Schalke”

  1. FABOD February 23, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    Benzema = Une Vie Dure

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