A footballing miracle is required for the Royal Blues to come even close to a respectable aggregate scoreline, but the team travelled to the Spanish capital determined to give a better account of themselves than they did a fortnight ago.
"We want to leave the competition on a high note and it's still an attractive proposition to play at the [Estadio Santiago] Bernabeu," said captain Benedikt Höwedes. Nevertheless, Schalke's priorities now lie elsewhere, namely ensuring they get the opportunity to dine at Europe's top table again next season.
"We're realistic enough to know what the situation is," Julian Draxler told schalke04.de. "We know it's the end of the line, but we still want to play well. We've had plenty of ups and downs but now we're into the final straight and we're all motivated to get everything we can out of the season and qualify for the Champions League. We're third in the Bundesliga right now and we don't want to let that slip."
To that end, and despite the potentially intimidating atmosphere in front of over 80,000 fans, coach Jens Keller could rest some of his key players. "I can imagine him doing that," said Draxler. "The Bundesliga is the most important competition now so maybe a rest would do one or two players some good. I hope I'm not one of them though."
Striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar could be named among the substitutes, considering he is doubtful to face his former side due to a calf injury, although the Dutchman remained bullish about the Royal Blues' chances: "It's hard to go through when you lose 6-1 at home, but if we play as a team I'm sure we can get a decent result. We're just going to give it our best shot and show that we were worthy of a place among the best 16 teams in Europe."
Real Madrid: Casillas - Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo - Modric, Xabi Alonso, di Maria - Bale, Jesé, Cristiano Ronaldo
Schalke: Fährmann - Höwedes, Matip, Papadopoulos, Kolasinac - Goretzka, Neustädter - Obasi, Meyer, Draxler - Szalai