Real Madrid v Manchester United
UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 (Wednesday 13th February, 2013 – 19:45 KO)
Home record (ECL 12/13): P3 W2 D1 L0 F9 A5
Home form (ECL 12/13: W D W
Cristiano Ronaldo on facing his former club: “I believe things will go well. In my opinion, Real Madrid have a better team, but we have to show that on the pitch …”
Iker Casillas misses out with a broken thumb; Diego Lopez (his January replacement) will start in goal. Raphael Varane, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil were rested for their weekend romp over Sevilla and will likely come back into the side. Pepe, who made a second-half appearance, is back in the first-team fold after injury. With Xabi Alonso also returning to training this week, Jose Mourinho has a near fully-fit squad to choose from. Cristiano Ronaldo warmed up nicely for the match with a weekend hat-trick.
Predicted Real Madrid line-up: Lopez, Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Khedira, Alonso, Ozil, di Maria, Ronaldo, Benzema
Away record (ECL 12/13): P3 W2 D0 L1 F5 A2
Away form (ECL 12/13): W W L
Record at the Santiago Bernabeu: P4 W0 D2 L2 F5 A9
Jonny Evans on the last-16 clash: “I don’t think it is just about Cristiano Ronaldo. There is the history of the two clubs. It is the glamour tie of the round.”
Rested for the weekend win over Everton, Rio Ferdinand will likely come back into the side. The big decision will be who partners him at the back, with Jonny Evans (who did limp off) and Nemanja Vidic both imperious against the Toffees. Michael Carrick, who only featured for the last 30 minutes in the same game, will definitely start. Phil Jones, who seemed to be auditioning for a midfield Madrid man-marking job, could line up alongside Carrick, should the injury which forced him off not prove to be too serious. Tom Cleverley, arguably United’s most consistent Champions League midfield performer this season, should also play. A much-improved display from Antonio Valencia – coupled with his defensive diligence – could see him start on the right. Up top, expect to see Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, despite Javier Hernandez featuring in all 6 Champions League matches so far.
Predicted United line-up: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Jones, Cleverley, Rooney, van Persie
Previous meetings at the Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid 3-1 United (11-04-57), Real Madrid 3-3 United (15-05-68), Real Madrid 0-0 United (04-04-00), Real Madrid 3-1 United (08-04-03)
Felix Brych. The German official has taken charge of 4 Champions League fixtures this season (1 qualifier), including United’s 3-1 in Braga in November. He has brandished 17 yellow cards and 1 red (Kim Kallstrom). He has awarded 3 penalties, including 2 in that game between SC Braga and United.
2012/13 head-to-head (ECL)
Goals: (Madrid) 15 – (United) 9
Conceded: 9 – 6
Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo (9) – Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez (3)
Assists: Angel di Maria (3) – Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa (2)
Most appearances: Cristiano Ronaldo (6) – Javier Hernandez (5/1)
Disciplinary: 7 yellows, 1 red – 7 yellows, 0 reds
Shots per game: 21 – 14.2
Average possession: 51% – 60.3%
Pass success rate: 82.8% – 88.9%
Best passer: Xabi Alonso (79.2/84.8%) – Tom Cleverley (71.8/92.3%)
Manchester United have never won a competitive fixture at the Santiago Bernebeu.
Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho, is undefeated at home against English sides in the Champions League. He has 5 wins and 3 draws under his managerial belt.
Real Madrid have seen over 2.5 goals scored in 10 of their last 11 Champions League matches, including 14 (9 for, 5 against) at the Bernabeu in the Group Stage.
Only Chelsea (16) have scored more Champions League goals than Real Madrid (15) this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo: has had 27 attempts at goal in this season’s Champions League – the competition’s highest. With 6 goals, he is also the joint-top scorer. Has scored 40% of all Real Madrid’s Champions League goals this season.
The last Manchester United player to score at the Bernabeu was a prominent Dutch striker. Can van Persie repeat the van Nistelrooy trick?
Real Madrid have averaged only 51% possession in their Champions League matches this season. United have averaged 60.3%. Beware the counter-attack.
Manchester United have come from behind to win 3 Champions League matches this season – no team has completed more comebacks.
Score prediction: Real Madrid 2-2 United