UEFA Champions League preview: Real Madrid to finish Schalke; Porto & Basel’s grudge match

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Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons are about to get really fun again, as the UEFA Champions League returns to settle eight round of 16 ties this week and next.

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First up on Tuesday, it’s the second leg of Real Madrid, defending Champions League winners, versus Bundesliga side Schalke. Following the first leg in Gelsenkirchen three weeks ago, the Spanish giants hold an overwhelming 2-0 lead, including a pair of tie-breaking away goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo scored Real’s two goals in the first leg, the latter a stunning upper-90 strike on the Brazilian’s weaker right foot, but with recent results going against Madrid in league play (zero wins in two) Los Merengues have seen their La Liga lead erased over the weekend and find themselves second in the standings, behind Barcelona.

Luka Modric is set to return for Real after being named in Carlo Ancelotti’s team for the first time since missing four months with a thigh injury. Sergio Ramos, however, will not return to the first team until the weekend.

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Elsewhere, Porto host Swiss side Basel following a 1-1 draw in the first leg. Derlis Gonzalez netted for Basel while Danilo converted a late penalty to draw the Portuguese side level ahead of the second leg.

With a single away goal from the first leg, Porto have to be considered slight favorites to reach the quarterfinals. Basel were an underwhelming 0-2-1 away from home during the group stage, including defeats at the hands of Real (5-1) and Ludogorets (1-0). Porto, on the other hand, won twice and drew once at home, dropping just four points during the group stage.

Stay tuned to PST for complete coverage of all Champions League round of 16 second legs before, during and after the games.