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Real Madrid Vs. Dinamo Zagreb, UEFA Champions League Preview: Time for Nuri Sahin

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Real Madrid hosts Dynamo Zagreb in a UEFA Champions League game tonight (20:45 CET, 2:45 PM EST) at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid is searching for the point they need to secure first position in their group. That will allow los blancos to face the teams that qualified second in the group stage.

Dinamo Zagreb was a tough team to beat in Croatia--Madrid only managed a 0-1 win--but the Santiago Bernabeu should be enough for Mourinho's team to beat Dinamo in a comfortable manner. Coach José Mourinho confirmed that Lassana Diarra will start, and Nuri Sahin is supposed to do so as well. That might allow Xabi Alonso to rest a little bit before the difficult games that lie ahead in Madrid's schedule.

With Marcelo and Arbeloa out, Fábio Coentrão will surely get the chance to start at left back. Mourinho might move Sergio Ramos to the right side so that Lass can play alongside Sahin in the center. This is the kind of match that a coach wants to have before games against the likes of Atlético Madrid, Sevilla or Barcelona.

If Ramos plays on the right today, Albiol or Varane will be the ones that form the center back pair.The other doubt about today's lineup lies in the attack: Mourinho will continue to rotate his strikers, and Higuaín will likely get the chance to play the 90 minutes and score again. The Portuguese will not likely play both Benzema and Higuaín, so the right wing should be for Callejón unless we play the 4-3-3 formation again.

Dinamo Zagreb has not scored a single point in this Champions League group stage, but they will be focused enough to try to beat los blancos. Not many players have the chance to be in the Santiago Bernabeu, so the Croatian players will sure try to make a good impression.

Real Madrid fans are very hopeful about Nuri Sahin starting today. The Turkish player has been injured for the whole summer and he will have his first chance to prove that he is worth the 10M € Real Madrid payed Borussia Dortmund for his talents. Mourinho said it would not have been smart of him to give Sahin minutes against Valencia, as it was a hard-fought match, so it was not good for a recovered player to enter the pitch.

If Sahin is able to shake off the nerves he will have in his first start at the Bernabeu, he will have the room to operate and create some danger.

On the other hand, Ajax and Lyon will have a key game today, since the winner might be the one that advances to the next round. Ajax still has to play against Real Madrid, so it should be essential for the Dutch team to beat Lyon if they want to have a slim chance, although Madrid will possibly face the last game with the 'B' team, specially with the tough November that they have on tap.

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