Champions League: Gareth Bale to play in top tier of Europe for first time in two years if selected by Real Madrid

Former Tottenham player hopes for Turkish delight as Real Madrid visit Galatasaray

Gareth Bale will make his first Champions League appearance for more than two years tonight if  selected for Real Madrid’s tricky looking visit to Galatasaray.

It was during Tottenham’s Champions League campaign in 2010-11 that Bale made his name on the international stage, scoring a  memorable hat-trick against Internazionale at San Siro.

Bale, of course, is now at Madrid and scored on his debut on Saturday, as his side drew 2-2 at Villarreal. Real  begin their Champions League campaign in Turkey and it will not be easy. Pressure for success is constant at the Bernabeu, especially after a summer in which they have spent €160m (£135m) on Bale, Isco and Asier Illarramendi.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will have to start well. They have Juventus in their group and so cannot afford to drop too many points to Galatasaray.  The Turkish team have Champions League winners Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder in their ranks and  reached the quarter-finals last year,  where they were beaten 5-3 by Madrid over two legs. In the other game in the group, Copenhagen – coached by former Wolves manager Stale Solbakken – host Antonio Conte’s Juventus.

After two consecutive Serie A titles, and the summer signings of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, Juventus should make a serious  impression in Europe this year. They drew 1-1 at Inter on Saturday.

Bayern Munich begin their defence of the Champions League tonight with a home game against CSKA Moscow. They have started well enough since Pep Guardiola replaced Jupp Heynckes, but are currently two points behind Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and after a lacklustre 2-0 home win over Hannover on Saturday, director of sport Matthias Sammer criticised his own players. “We are playing lethargically at times, playing football without any emotion and just going through the motions,” Sammer said.

The other game in Manchester United’s group is between Real Sociedad and Shakhtar Donetsk in San Sebastian.

Shakhtar were excellent last  season, reaching the last 16 – where they lost 5-2 on aggregate to Dortmund – but they have had another summer of change. Fernandinho, Razvan Rat and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have all left, with another set of talented young South Americans stepping in,  including Atletico Mineiro creator Bernard and Internacional’s Fred.

In Group C, big-spending Paris Saint-Germain travel to Olympiakos, while in the other game Benfica, who lost the Europa League final to Chelsea in May, host the Belgians Anderlecht.

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living