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Schalke v Real Madrid: Benzema brace offers more value than CR7

| 17.02.2015

On the face of it a trip to Germany and the intimidating atmosphere of the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen should represent a major test of Real Madrid’s Champions League credentials but then Los Galacticos have been living on a different planet to the rest of us for some time.

Instead, what would be a tricky away trip for most is being billed as a potential cakewalk for the reigning champions though it’s not without some justification.

Real Madrid romped to a 9-2 aggregate victory over the Miners at this stage of the competition last year, helped by a 6-1 victory away from home in the first leg.

But with Los Blancos an unappealing 4/9 to win and Schalke available at 6/1 for a home victory, while the draw is priced at 19/5 at Ladbrokes, we’ve opted for three alternative tips.

Karim Benzema to score two or more @ 9/2

Though it’s often hard to look past Cristiano Ronaldo, who is 11/4 to net two or more, the odds available on the Frenchman coupled with his recent goalscoring efforts make him the better value pick to score a brace or better in Germany.

Benzema netted two in Real’s previous 6-1 victory at the Veltins-Arena and has scored four in his last five outings for Los Blancos, including a brace in a fine 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad.

Should it prove to be a landslide then don’t be surprised to see the 27-year-old among the goals.

Real Madrid (-3) to beat Schalke @ 5/1

Once again this a pick based on value. Though the (-2) handicap looks a tempting prospect odds of 9/4, compared with 5/1 on the (-3), means we are pushing the boat out and backing Real for another heavy win, in much the same vein as their 6-1 romp in Germany a year ago.

Los Merengues have already scored four or more goals on two separate occasions in the Champions League this season and racked up four or more goals in two of their three visits to Germany in this competition last term.

Schalke also come into this game off the back of a surprise loss to mid-table Eintracht Frankfurt and the Royal Blues have also shipped four or more goals in two of their six group stage games – including a 5-0 home loss to Chelsea.

Exactly two goals to be scored in the first half @ 12/5

Something of a left-field choice but, given recent results, one that warranted your attention with exactly two first-half goals scored in either leg of the previous encounter between these two.

Two goals have also been scored before the break in two of Real’s last three games away from the Bernabeu while Real’s last Champions League outing featured two first half goals.

All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.