In their past clash at the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid was able to overcome a 1-2 deficit in just six minutes to finish 3-2, although Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates dominated the whole game. This time, midfielder Sami Khedira will be available to play, and his physical presence could be very much used by Jose Mourinho to prevent Manchester City from enjoying dangerous counterattacks like the one that ended in City’s first goal at the Bernabéu. Yaya Touré is a difficult midfielder to defend, but it will certainly be easier for Real Madrid to do it with Khedira on the pitch.
Since Khedira, Benzema and Coentrao rejoined the squad, Mourinho has been able of starting a very similar team to the one he prefers. It’s true that Marcelo won’t likely come back until the Winter break ends, and it might be true as well that the Portuguese coach would like Higuaín to be fit to play, but injuries happen and Real Madrid’s doctors have already healed most of the FIFA Virus’ victims.
José Callejón filled the void perfectly while both Higuaín and Benzema were down, but he will probably sit on the bench tomorrow. Ángel Di María rested against Athletic Bilbao. Di María’s work rate is something Mourinho can’t live without against elite teams. Midfielder Michael Essien has not made the team's list to face Manchester City. He performed really well against them in the Santiago Bernabéu.
It'd be very interesting to see a 4-3-3 formation with Khedira, Alonso and Modric. I think both Modric and Khedira could perform really well in that system, and the team could also defend better and launch some powerful counterattacks. Manchester City needs to get a win in order to keep their chances of qualifying to the next round, so maybe it'd be a good idea for Mourinho to keep either Özil or Modric on the bench and play with the counterattack style Real Madrid is known for. That way, one of them would be on the bench just in case the team needs to add an offensive threat or have some more possession and control of the game.
If Real Madrid manages to get a win, Mourinho’s team would clinch their spot at the UEFA Champions League’s 1/8. But they could do it with a draw if Borussia Dortmund gets the three points away from the Amsterdam Arena. That way, Madrid wouldn’t have a single thing at stake in the last game of this Group Stage against Ajax, to be played at the Santiago Bernabéu.