German hurdle in front of Madrid

Ronaldo's men take on Schalke 04

German hurdle in front of Madrid

 Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has gone on to become one of the Bundesliga's most prolific strikers since he was shunned at Real Madrid and will finally have a chance to show his former club what they are missing on Wednesday.

Huntelaar's Schalke 04 host the nine-times European champions on Wednesday in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie and the Dutchman, who has scored 51 goals in 89 league appearances for the German side, is looking forward to it as much as anyone.
"I worked very hard to return as soon as possible and now I am back, playing, helping the team and scoring goals," the 30-year-old, who returned to action in mid-January after a four-month layoff caused by a knee injury, told the Spanish sports daily Marca.
"I had some very tough moments. I think I am coming into the tie in very good condition."

Real bought Huntelaar from Ajax for 27 million euros ($37.1 million) in January 2009 and he scored a respectable eight goals in 20 appearances, yet it failed to impress one of the world's most demanding clubs.

Just eight months later, he was sold to AC Milan for 15 million euros after Florentino Perez returned as Real president and cleared out the Dutch contingent which also included Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder.

Huntelaar ended up spending a season at AC Milan, where he scored seven goals in 30 appearances, before joining Schalke in 2010.

Schalke, eliminated by Galatasaray at the same stage last season, have won six and drawn two of their last eight games but it would still be a huge upset if they could overcome Real, beaten semifinalists in each of the last three seasons.

Fourth in the Bundesliga, Schalke were outclassed by Chelsea in the group stage, losing 3-0 home and away, and needed to a controversial 2-0 home win over FC Basel to sneak through in their last game.

Real, on the other hand, scored 20 goals in the group stage, with a record nine coming from Cristiano Ronaldo, and they dropped only two points. They are unbeaten in their last 26 games in all competitions, a run stretching back to October.

However, they have a very poor record in Germany with only one win in 25 previous visits and their 18 defeats included last season's humiliating 4-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the semifinals.

Drogba key

Galatasaray's Didier Drogba will be full of emotions when he strides out to face former club Chelsea on Wednesday but Jose Mourinho knows the striker will be as clinical as ever on the field.

The Champions League last-16 first-leg clash in Istanbul is the first time the Ivorian will be on the pitch with the Blues since scoring the winning penalty when Chelsea lifted the trophy in May 2012.

The 35-year-old, who media reports say could return to the London club as striker coach, is Chelsea's record European scorer with 34 goals in 69 games.

Including the spot kick in the Munich shootout and his header late in normal time, he has also bagged nine goals in nine domestic and European finals. His sizeable contribution to the club's recent history is apparent from the number of posters of him still dotted around Stamford Bridge.

"It's a strange feeling but, as we know him so well, we know that for him no friends during the game," Chelsea boss Mourinho, who managed Drogba during his first spell at the club, told reporters.

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