For as much talk as there’s been about Barcelona (and boy, have we contributed to it1, 2, 3), Galatasaray deserves their share of press. The Turkish champions went into Gelsenkirchen, knocked off a team coming off a victory over one of Europe’s best teams, and secured their first Champions League quarterfinal appearance since the 2000-01 tournament.
The person behind much of that success is Burak Yilmaz, a Turkish international who led the Super Lïg in scoring last season. That 32-goal campaign with Trabzonspor bought Yilmaz a ticket to Istanbul where he’s led his new team with 14 goals in 21 league matches.
It’s a goal rate that’s actually down from Yilmaz’s Champions League output. With eight goals in as many games, the Galatasaray striker is the competition’s leading scorer, outpacing Lionel Messi by two goals, Cristiano Ronaldo by one.
And it was Yilmaz’s eighth goal of the tournament that turned Gala’s tie with Schalke. Approaching the end of the first half, the teams were drawn 2-2, both sides having taken an away goal. Then a clearance out of Gala’s end put Yilmaz in on Timo Hildebrand. When the Schalke keeper mistimed his run of his line, Yilmaz beat Hildebrand to the ball at the edge of the penalty area. His chip gave Gala to a 3-2 lead.
Though his team would later add a fourth goal, Yilmaz’s score gave Gala a crucial away goal edge. When Schalke equalized through Michel Bastos in the second half, they were left chasing a winner, having only scored once in Turkey.
That chase eventually gave Gala their fourth goal, sealing a place in the final eight for Turkey’s champions.
Highlights from Tuesday’s game, above, are courtesy FOX Soccer.