Real Looks To Get Head Start

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Cristiano Ronaldo has scored eight goals in this season's Champions League. Image courtesy of
The last thing Jose Mourinho would want to be facing is a return trip to Istanbul to play in front of Galatasaray’s rabid home fans with a deficit for his Real Madrid team to make up. The importance of Thursday morning’s (AEDT) match at the Bernabeu cannot be understated for that very reason.

Real managed to go to Old Trafford in the last round, and after going behind to a Sergio Ramos own goal, hit back with quick strikes from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo to seal a 2-1 win. The Merengues can win on the road in Europe, but the reigning La Liga champion will want to produce better than it did in the home leg against Manchester United when they could only muster a 1-1 draw.

Galatasaray finished second behind United in Group H, but made it through to the final eight courtesy of a 4-3 victory over German side Schalke 04 on aggregate. That included a 3-2 away win to seal the deal, and it was their third straight triumph on the road following on from wins over Cluj and Braga. The bad news is the Turks have won just one match in Spain in 12 starts.

This match-up features the competition’s two leading goalscorers this season, with Ronaldo and Burak Yilmaz both finding the back of the net eight times so far. Galatasaray went on a spending spree during the January transfer window picking up former Champions League winners Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, both of whom have played under Mourinho in the past. The Portuguese manager has never lost in a Champions League quarter-final, while Real has lost just one of its 16 home matches in the competition under the former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss.

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