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Take 3/1 on Real Madrid retaining Champions League now before they batter Schalke

Schalke conceded a worrying 14 goals in this term's Champions League group stage

Bernabeu boys blitzed Bundesliga outfit 6-1 away in first leg at this stage last term, and a repeat result will see Los Blancos shorten

Real Madrid laid down a major marker this time last season en route to winning the Champions League. Carlo Ancelotti masterminded a superb 6-1 away win against upcoming last 16 opponents Schalke at the same stage of the competition.

Leading bookmakers Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral all make the Bernabeu boys 3/1 to once again lift the Champions League, but that price will surely be cut if a repeat mauling occurs this week.

Under Italian coach Ancelotti, Los Blancos are bidding to becoming the first side in the modern era to retain the European Cup. Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan and Nottingham Forest, famously under Brian Clough, both managed this amazing feat in the 1980s.

Punters can assess whether Madrid are the Real deal by tuning in to Sky Sports 5 on Wednesday, 18 February at 19:45 GMT, and see how they got on in the German industrial city of Gelsenkirchen.

Key attacking trio Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo all bagged braces in last season’s demolition of Schalke, and a repeat performance or better can thus be expected.

Portugal icon Ronaldo, who also managed a double in the second leg, is 14/5 for two goals or more with William Hill. Wales winger Bale, meanwhile, is superb at 7/1 on offer with Coral to answer recent criticism with at least couple of goals.

Schalke conceded a worrying 14 goals in this term’s Champions League group stage, vastly more than any other side through to the last 16. Memories of that hiding could well once again play out 12 months on.

Benedikt Howedes missed two group stage outings injured, but the Schalke skipper and centre back’s presence hardly shored things up as he featured in three matches where his side shipped a dozen.

All signs point to a Real romp, and Roberto Di Matteo’s men struggling to stem a tsnuami tide of attacking talent. BetVictor offer awesome odds of 110/1 on another 6-1 Madrid mauling.

Back Real Madrid @ 3/1 with William Hill

All odds were correct at time of posting.