Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo kicks a ball during a training session in Gelsenkirchen ahead of Real Madrid's Champions League round of 16 clash against Schalke on WednesdayReuters

Defending European champions Real Madrid travel to Germany to take on Schalke in the first leg round of 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday.

Apart from getting knocked out of the Copa del Rey and their humiliating 0-4 loss to rivals Atletico Madrid on 7 February, the New Year has been pretty smooth sailing for the Los Blancos.

However, Real Madrid will be a little worried as Barcelona are only a point behind them in the La Liga, meaning that a single draw or a defeat could see them get overtaken by Luis Enrique's side.

Nevertheless, Real will be currently focusing their energies in the Champions League, where they have been doing pretty well this season, winning all their fixtures in the group stages.

And Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti insists that his side are confident ahead of their clash against Schalke, who they managed to beat 9-2 (aggregate) at the same stage of the Champions League last season.

"It is good to be back in the Champions League and we want to put in a good performance," the former Chelsea boss told UEFA's official website, adding that his side are highly motivated to retain their European crown.

"Motivation is always high, as it is in the league. We are top of the league! We are Champions League holders and will give our all to defend the title."

"Defending the Champions League title is a fantastic motivation. Last year we were here with the dream of winning the Champions League. Now we have the same dream. History says it will be really difficult, almost impossible, but we have to try."

The Italian also says that his side are desperately trying to turn things around following their recent humiliating 0-4 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the La Liga.

"After a result like the one against Atlético, it is all about turning things around as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, Schalke will also be hoping to get a positive result in the first leg of the round of sixteen of the Champions League on Wednesday despite the odds being heavily against them.

Although the Bundesliga side were easily defeat by Real Madrid last season, new boss Roberto Di Matteo insists that his side will be heading into this game with the "intention of winning it."

"We enter this game with the intention of winning it, of course, but we know we are up against very tough opposition. They are the champions, but we have to try to win it," said the Italian, who unexpectedly won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012.

"It will be a test for us, to see how far we have come in Europe, how we have developed and improved. Of course Real are the favourites, but I believe that by now we have a certain [level of] experience in these games and I hope we can demonstrate that."

Despite saying that Schalke will be trying to take advantage of the weaknesses that Real Madrid have been exposing in the last month or so, the former Chelsea boss admits that Ancelotti's side are still a team with "very good players."

"Of course we have all seen that Madrid have shown certain weaknesses in the past three or four weeks, so we will focus on capitalising on them," he added. "Every team has weaknesses. Nevertheless, they are still a side with very good players."

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for an 8:45pm GMT (1:15am IST, 2:45pm ET) start, with live coverage on Ten Action in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online on Ten Sports Live.

Catch the action in the UK live on Sky Sports 5 and Sky Sports HD, with an option to live stream the match online on Sky GO. US viewers can watch the game live on Fox Sports 1 or online on Fox Soccer 2Go. Audience in Canada can see the tie via live stream on Sportsnet World.

Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can watch the match via live streaming online on beIN Sports Connect, while South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa viewers can do the same on SuperSport online.