Real Madrid travel to an in-form Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday evening for match day two of the Champions League.
Los Merengues have dropped four points in their last two domestic matches since struggling to overcome Sporting Lisbon in their Group F opener.
Casemiro and Marcelo will miss out through injury, which means Fabio Coentrão could make his first start for Madrid for over a season.
A big task for Zinedine Zidane will be how to quell the danger from Dortmund’s counter attacks, especially as Casemiro will be out again. Perhaps he will give Mateo Kovacic another chance to impress alongside Luka Modric, with Toni Kroos being the deeper lying of the midfield three that Zidane usually prefers to employ.
Dortmund have been on an impressive run since a shock 1-0 defeat away to RB Leipzig on match day two of the Bundesliga. Since then, BVB have scored 20 goals in four games, including two consecutive 6-0 wins against Legia Warsaw and Darmstadt 98 respectively.
The German side are currently second in the Bundesliga, three points behind Carlo Ancelotti’s F.C. Bayern side.
Manager Thomas Tuchel had a busy summer, with six departures including the likes of Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Ilkay Gündogan. Tuchel then added nine new players, including the likes of Mario Götze, André Schürrle and Raphael Guerreiro.
You can expect Dortmund to try and dominate possession highup the pitch, with lots of short passes to try and unlock Real’s defence. Real Madrid will have to aim to deny their hosts time on the ball between the defence and midfield lines, or risk being exploited.
On the flip side, Dortmund will be aware of being caught on the counter against the pace of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. If Real can press BVB effectively and stop them penetrating their defensive third, you would think Real’s attacking quality would be able to find a way to unlock the Dortmund safe.
In the previous meeting between these two sides at Signal Idun Park in 2014, Real Madrid won 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu, before Dortmund nearly reversed the deficit with a 2-0 victory virtue of a brace from Marco Reus in the quarter final first leg.
In the previous year’s semi-final stage, Dortmund dispatched Los Merengues 4-1 at Signul Iduna Park, before losing 2-0 in the reverse fixture.
If history is anything to go by, we are in for a great game.