February 13, 2013 @ 17:48
Real Madrid welcome fellow European heavyweights Manchester United to the Bernabéu on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 encounter.
Jose Mourinho’s side finished runners-up in Group D to German champions Borussia Dortmund, winning just three of their six group stage matches along the way.
Opponents Manchester United finished top of Group H ahead of Galatasaray despite losing their last two group stage matches to the Turkish outfit and CFR Cluj respectively.
In fact, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have not lost since defeat to Cluj on the 5th December 2012 meaning they have gone 14 matches unbeaten, whilst Madrid have won just six of their previous 10 matches.
Mourinho is likely to reintroduce midfielders Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira who were all rested during Madrid’s 4-1 victory over Sevilla in La Liga at the weekend, although they’ll be without captain Iker Casillas who is sidelined with a broken hand.
Former Manchester United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo will face his former employers for the first time since his £80 million departure from Old Trafford in 2009, fresh after scoring his third hat-trick of 2013 at the weekend.
United will be without 38-year-old midfielder Paul Scholes who has a knee injury, although Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans have all overcome knocks received during the weekend’s 2-0 victory over Everton.
Both sides have 12 Champions League titles between them, although Madrid have gone 11 years without winning the illustrious competition.
The return leg will take place on Tuesday 5th March at Old Trafford.