Ten time European champions Real Madrid will look to translate their domestic form on to the European stage when they take on German club Wolfsburg in the first leg of the Champions League quarter final.
The two sides head into Wednesday’s clash on the back of contrasting domestic fortunes. Real Madrid came from a goal and a man down to shock bitter rivals FC Barcelona in the second Clasico of the season at the Camp Nou on Saturday night.
A late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo ended Barcelona’s 39 match unbeaten run in all competitions and at the same time instilled renewed belief into Real Madrid ranks. Wolfsburg, on the other hand, are currently languishing in 8th place in the Bundesliga and face an uphill task against one of the favourites to win Europe’s most coveted crown.
Casemiro set to start versus Wolfsburg
Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro won several plaudits for his commanding performance against Lionel Messi and Co. during last weekend’s Clasico. Following his impressive display at the Camp Nou, the Brazilian midfielder is set to retain his place in Real Madrid’s starting line up against Wolfsburg at the Volkswagon Arena.
Casemiro’s potential inclusion on Wednesday night would mean that James Rodriguez and Isco would once again be given a place on the bench by manager Zinedine Zidane.
“That is the difficult part of the coach’s job,” said Zidane (via espnfc). “I would like to pick them [James and Isco] too, they have quality and it is difficult not to play. I have been a player. But I must choose 11 from 22. But they will have protagonism with me. I am very interested in what they do because I know the type of players they are.”
Speaking about the threat posed by Wolfsburg, Zidane quipped, “Tomorrow we will have a difficult game. They have had problems in their league, but that does not mean anything. They deserve to be here. We must play our own game and we will try and do well.”
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) April 5, 2016
Naldo set to miss out against Real; Caliguiri may feature
Wolfsburg centre-back Naldo is set to miss Wednesday night’s Champions League clash against Real Madrid on account of a shoulder injury he suffered in late February. The Brazilian injured his shoulder during Wolfsburg’s 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.
“I’m doing fine and I’m happy the operation was conducted without any problems,” said Naldo (as quoted by Wolfsburg’s official website) immediately after being operated on his shoulder. “I want to get fit and back out on the pitch again as quickly as possible, so that I can help the team.”
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg’s midfield lynchpin Daniel Caligiuri may feature in manager Dieter Hecking’s plan against the Los Merengues after stepping up his recovery from a groin injury.