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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Champions League Schalke Vs Porto And Roma Vs Real Team News

TEAM NEWS - Schalke Vs Porto

The one major absentee for Schalke is full back Christian Pander. The German international has recently returned to training after a knee ligament injury but is unlikely to be ready and was not risked at the weekend against Wolfsburg. Heiko Westermann continues to deputise.Mladen Krstajic, Ivan Rakitic and Rafinha will take their places against Porto having been suspended by the club for Schalke’s final Group match against Rosenborg for a breach of club discipline. Jermaine Jones is available again after being suspended for Matchday 6.Winter signings Zé Roberto, Albert Streit and Vicente Sanchez have all been added to the list of players registered for the Champions League, so should all make the squad.

Probable starting XI: Neuer, Rafinha, Bordon, Krstajic, Westermann, Ernst, Jones, Rakitic, Kobiashvili, Asamoah, Kuranyi


The major loss for trainer Jesualdo Ferreira is that of defensive ace Bosingwa. The 25 year old has not shaken off a knock picked up while playing for Portugal against Italy. Jorge Fucile looks set to switch flanks to deputise. Midfielder Mario Bolatti (leg) and striker Adriano (thigh) both miss out through injuries, but defender Bruno Alves has recovered from the thigh injury he sustained on international duty and should be fit enough to take his place in the team.
Tarik Sektioui is available again after returning from African Cup of Nations duty.

Probable starting XI: Helton, Fucile, Pedro Emanuel, Bruno Alves, Cech, Lucho Gonzalez, Paulo Assuncao, Raul Meireles, Sektioui, Lisandro Lopez, Quaresma


Schalke-Kevin Kuranyi

Although some may say that Schalke are a little predictable with Kevin Kuranyi the target man for the crosses and corners provided by the likes of Rakitic, Rafinha and Westermann, he is still a difficult player to manage. Defenders know where the ball is going, but the German international is very skilled in the use of his size to dominate in the air. He is not unskilled on the ground and will be fired-up by a passionate home crowd as the Königsblauen look for a positive first-leg score to take to Portugal.

Porto-Lisandro Lopez

Lisandro has scored five goals in his last four games, so is certainly in a rich vein of form just now. He is far and away the leading scorer in the Bwin Liga with 16 goals and will be looking to continue that run against Schalke on Tuesday. With Ricardo Quaresma providing the ammunition, Lisandro Lopez could be the one to fire Porto into the quarter finals.


It should be a very close game at the Veltins Arena of Tuesday, with a cagey opening as neither side will want to give anything away. Schalke are going to have to score goals I feel if they are going to get anything from the second leg. That could leave them a little exposed at the back however, which the likes of Quaresma and Lisandro will exploit.

Schalke 1-1 Porto

TEAM NEWS - Roma Vs Real Madrid


Despite being declared fit to play against Juventus at the weekend, central defender Juan was rested by Spalletti and is all but certain to be named along side Mexes in favour of Ferrari this week. Second choice goalkeeper Gianluca Curci is also still out for another four to six weeks, as is Roma’s third choice goalkeeper Julio Sergio. Panucci, who was also rested against Juventus, should reclaim his spot at right-back ahead of Cassetti and ex-Real man Cicinho, despite his training bust up with Aquilani. Totti has had ongoing back pain in recent times, but is set to start despite his poor form of late and his replacement, Vucinic, is also struggling with a slight thigh strain.

Real Madrid

Schuster may have to do without a whole host of key players, as Robinho is still out for another two weeks or so with an abdominal muscle tear. Thankfully, star striker Van Nistelrooy successfully came through 30 minutes against Betis at the weekend and has shaken off his ankle bruise in time for this match. Pepe is also still out on the sidelines with a torn calf muscle while Metzelder has another two months to overcome an injury to his foot, having just started the rehabilitation programme. Meanwhile, fringe player Javier Saviola is out with a sprained knee and ankle and Wesley Sneijder is out for the next month after suffering a fractured rib in training only a few days ago. Marcelo has become the latest casualty to roll up to Real Madrid’s treatment table ahead of this week’s match after he sustained a knock to the calf against Betis at the weekend.


Roma (4-2-3-1): Doni; Panucci, Juan, Mexes, Tonetto; De Rossi, Pizarro; Taddei, Perrotta, Mancini; Totti

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Casillas; Salgado, Sergio Ramos, Cannavaro, Torres; Diarra, Gago, Guti; Robben, Raul, Van Nistelrooy


Roma – Daniele De Rossi

After another spectacular performance against Juventus at the weekend, De Rossi is emerging as one of Italy’s finest defensive midfielders. He will have a huge job this week against Madrid as he will be a key figure both offensively and defensively for his side. His ability to make and create, while also positioning himself to stop the movements of players such as Raúl and Robben, will certainly be put to the test. It’s a big chance for this young star to prove himself on the big stage. Expect De Rossi to excel in this match once again.

Real Madrid – Raúl: Having had another superb season, the Madrid captain will be called upon to lead his squad to victory this week, in the all important first leg of this two-legged tie. His quality and experience will be essential to his side’s performance, and if he manages to add to his tally of fourteen goals this season against Roma, then that would be great for El Real too. He is potentially the most important figure in this first leg, so it will be interesting to see what eventuates.


These matches are always extremely difficult to predict. In this particular contest, both sides have their issues, however that shouldn’t affect them too much come match time. Roma are certainly are tough side to defeat at home,and their main aim in this leg will be to come away with a clean sheet. Whether or not they can do that against the Madrid attack, remains to be seen. However, despite their poor away form in recent times Real will be confident of achieving a positive result here, to take with them to the Bernabéu in two weeks time.

Roma 1-1 Real Madrid