Already qualified, Real Madrid host CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on the final matchday of Group G.
Los Blancos lead Group G ahead of Roma with 12 points from a possible 15 and need just a point to guarantee top spot. However, Santiago Solari’s side will be eyeing a win and seeking revenge after they suffered a shock defeat in the reverse fixture in the second round.
Despite competing against Spanish and Italian heavyweights, CSKA will be slightly disappointed to have been unable to build on their historic win over their opponents, picking up just one point since – including a loss to Viktoria Plzen last time out.
While Madrid have comfortably sealed qualification, the Russian giants can still qualify for the Europa League should they better Plzen’s result.
Here’s 90min’s breakdown of Wednesday’s clash.
Where To Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Wednesday 12 December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||17:55 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Santiago Bernabeu|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 1|
Solari faces a selection headache ahead of the clash and could give starts to Isco, Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio, who didn’t start at the weekend. Forward Mariano picked up a muscle injury in Madrid’s Copa del Rey thrashing over Mellila last week and is set to miss out again.
Having scored the winner against Los Blancos on matchday two, on-loan Everton forward Nikola Vlasic is set to feature.
However, Viktor Goncharenko will be without star man Alan Dzagoev for an eighth consecutive game as they look to become the first team to avoid defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu this campaign.
|Real Madrid||Navas; Odriozola, Ramos, Varane, Reguilon; Kroos, Isco, Llorente; Bale, Benzema, Asensio.|
|CSKA Moscow||Akinfeev; Nababkin, Becao, Magnusson; Fernandes, Bistrovic, Shchennikov, Akhmetov, Vlasi, Sigurdsson; Chalov.|
Head to Head Record
The sides have met just three times in European competition, with both registering a win and a draw apiece.
After resting captain Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric, October’s encounter saw Madrid fall to a
surprise 1-0 defeat in Russia.
Having won four on the bounce in all competitions, Madrid have seemingly bounced back from their poor early season form. Their home win over Roma on matchday five would have instilled confidence and a wave of relief around the capital, who look to win the illustrious European trophy for a record 14th time.
Looking to fill the goal-scoring boots of former legendary marksmen Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have six goals between them in the competition so far.
CSKA come into Wednesday’s fixture unbeaten in five games and will have to be their best if they’re to claim a Europa League spot.
As highlighted in Madrid’s 3-1 win over Plzen, their defensive naivety has been well documented and forwards Vlasic and Fedor Chalov are capable of causing problems for Los Blancos. The latter is the Russian club’s top goal-scorer this season, but has netted once in Europe.
Here’s how each side has fared in their last five fixtures:
|Real Madrid||CSKA Moscow|
|Huesca 0-1 Real Madrid (09/12)||CSKA Moscow 2-1 Yenisey (08/12)|
|Real Madrid 6-1 Mellila (06/12)||FC Rostov 0-0 CSKA Moscow (02/12)|
|Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia (01/12)||CSKA Moscow 1-2 Viktoria Plzen (27/11)|
|Roma 0-2 Real Madrid (27/11)||Akhmat Grozny 0-2 CSKA Moscow (23/11)|
|Eibar 3-0 Real Madrid (24/11)||CSKA Moscow 2-0 Zenit (11/11)|
Considering Madrid’s European pedigree, qualification as group winners will be the forefront of their minds ahead of Wednesday’s fixture.
Having won this competition last season, retaining the title could prove a shining light in an otherwise underwhelming campaign thus far.
Should Solari decide to rest key players, CSKA’s best hope of staying in European competition will lay on the shoulders of their forwards.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 CSKA Moscow