With one foot already in the quarter-finals, Real Madrid host AS Roma in the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday. Los Blancos will look to capitalize upon their two-goal advantage as Zinedine Zidane welcomes the return of Gareth Bale to the squad.
A draw against Malaga and a subsequent defeat in the Madrid derby has ruled the club out of the title race in Spain with ten games left to go in the season. Real Madrid’s struggles this season could be attributed to the fact that their key players have sustained untimely injuries since Rafael Benitez took control of the squad.
On the other hand, Roma have looked very convincing in recent weeks and come into the fixture after a confidence-boosting 4-1 win over Fiorentina. Looking to overturn a two-goal deficit, the Italian outfit have their work cut out for them as they come up against a wounded Real Madrid side.
While Gareth Bale and Marcelo returned to the pitch against Celta de Vigo following their injury layoffs, Karim Benzema remains sidelined for the Champions League fixture. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric returned to training on Monday and have been named in the 19-man squad.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos (C), Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro; Isco, Bale, James Rodriguez; Ronaldo
Daniele de Rossi remains sidelined along with defender Norbert Gyomber. Konstantinos Manolas and Antonio Rudiger are expected to lead the defence against Real Madrid.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3-): Szczesny; Digne, Manolas, Rudiger, Florenzi (C); Keita, Pjanic, Nainggolan; Salah, El Shaarawy; Perotti
- AS Roma have only won one Champions League fixture this season.
- The Italian side has conceded 18 goals in 7 Champions League games this season.
- Both Roma and Real Madrid are the highest scoring sides in their respective domestic leagues.
- With 12 goals to his name, Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer in the Champions League this season.
- Real Madrid have won only two of their last four fixtures since the first leg of this Champions League tie; AS Roma have won all three of their games.
Real Madrid 1-2 AS Roma
While Real Madrid are the firm favourites to proceed to the quarter-finals of the tournament, AS Roma have the potential to surprise the Galacticos in their own den. Zinedine Zidane’s men are expected to qualify on aggregate while Roma could cause an upset at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Betting Odds (bet365)
Real Madrid – 2/5
Draw – 17/4
Roma – 15/2