Madrid, April 2 (IANS) Real Madrid take on Turkish side Galatasaray in the Champions League Wednesday night in a game that will determine whether or not the Spanish football club’s season can be seen as a success or failure.
Jose Mourinho’s side know they have no chance for victory in the BBVA Primera Liga as they sit 13 points behind FC Barcelona and although they are in the final of the Copa del Rey, that would be seen as little reward for a club that has spent as much as they have over the past four seasons, reports Xinhua.
That means the hopes of the club rest on winning a historic 10th Champions League title, something that has become almost an obsession after recent failures.
Mourinho has twice seen his side lose semifinals, crashing out to Barca two years ago and losing a dramatic penalty shoot-out to Bayern Munich last season. Now they look to take a comfortable first leg lead to Istanbul next week.
Galatasaray travel to Madrid as leaders in the Turkish league and with a reputation for attacking football, typified by striker Burak Yimaz and Didier Drogba, who Mourinho worked with at Chelsea; a player Mourinho admits is one of the best he has worked with during his time as a coach.
The Turks also have Hamid Altintop in their squad and he will be keen to show his ability after leaving Madrid last summer after just one season at the club.
Real Madrid striker, Cristiano Ronaldo said Monday that Galatasaray were an attacking side, but added that could be a good thing for Real Madrid as their rivals could allow them space to launch their usually effective counter-attacks.
Mourinho has his side more or less in mind with Alvaro Albeloa and Fabio Coentrao as full backs. There is a slight doubt over whether or not Rafael Varene will have recovered from a slight muscle problem in time to partner Sergio Ramos in central defence or whether Pepe will step into the back line.
Likewise there is a question mark over Xabi Alonso’s groin injury, with Luka Modric ready to replace the Spain international, who was rested as a precaution at the weekend.
The main problem for Mourinho is who should play in attack with both Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema looking out of form in recent weeks. Benzema may be chosen to start as he didn’t play in Zaragoza at the weekend, but the Frenchman has been lacking in confidence and was booed by his own fans during France’s game with Spain a week ago.
Meanwhile Diego Lopez will continue in goal while Iker Casillas watches the game from the stands.
The Bernabeu will be filled with 78,000 fans, the majority of whom will be expecting a comfortable win as Madrid look to take a cushion of goals for next week’s return leg.