Through 28 matches in the competitive Spanish Primera Division, Spanish giants Real Madrid find themselves ahead of the twenty-team field thanks to a strong effort on both sides of the ball. Led by the phenomenal offensive play of Cristiano Ronaldo and the consistent play of keeper Diego Lopez, Los Blancos continue to hold off usual powers in Atlético Madrid and Barcelona. The La Liga frontrunners are also playing high-level soccer in the UEFA Champions League and thanks to a convincing 6-1 triumph over German Bundesliga affiliate Schalke 04, Madrid enters the Round of 16 second leg as favorites to move on. While it may not be viewed as a necessity, Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti said he plans to use Ronaldo when UCL play resumes Tuesday at the Bernabeu.

“We will make some changes because on Saturday we had a game that took a lot out of us physically,” he said, referencing Madrid’s 1-0 weekend win over Malaga. “We've travelled and we've not rested much. In order to help everyone recover well we will make some changes. Some players will be tired and therefore they won't play. I can say the three strikers. Morata, Jese and Cristiano Ronaldo. We have to play a good game, it's an important Champions League match and having a good game against Schalke is the best way to prepare for the Clasico. Having a good game gives us more confidence. We need to respect our work, the competition and the opposing tea.”

The second and final leg against Schalke will be Real’s final contest before a crucial home showdown against Lionel Messi and rival Barcelona. With the club confident in their ability to move past the German squad Tuesday afternoon, Real Madrid will certainly be playing with an added level of comfort, something The Royal Blues don’t have the luxury of. Noting that his side looks forward to the challenge of playing at the famed Santiago Bernabeu, Schalke striker Julian Draxler is well aware that odds of overcoming a five-goal deficit are not in the German clubs favor.

While elimination is almost certain in the UCL, the 20-year-old maintains belief that his club – who currently sit third in the Bundesliga – will be able to overtake Borussia Dortmund for second place.

“Playing at the Santiago Bernabeu is the place where all the players want to play," Draxler said. “However, our situation is comical. We are realistic enough to assess that after the 6-1 defeat we don’t have much chance against Real Madrid, however we will make it a good match. At this stage of the season we have confidence in ourselves, especially now that we have overtaken Leverkusen in the standings. Now we do not want to miss third place and, if possible, we want to get to second place. We should not make the mistake of watching what our opponents are doing.”

Real Madrid vs. Schalke 04: DATE, TIME & VIEWING INFO

DATE: Tuesday, March 18

TIME: 3:45pm, ET

TV COVERAGE: FOX Sports 2 / FOX Deportes

LIVE STREAM: CLICK HERE