Spanish football leaders Real Madrid face a difficult test of nerve and form when they travel to face an in-form Borussia Dortmund of Germany in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Zinedine Zidane’s side travels to Germany after two draws in their last two La Liga games (at home to Villarreal and away to Las Palmas) have raised doubts about his side, reports Xinhua.
Madrid didn’t play well in either of those games and were also fortunate when two late goals saved a disappointing display at home to Sporting Lisbon in their Champions League opener earlier.
Madrid’s star striker Cristiano Ronaldo was seemingly very unhappy at being substituted against Las Palmas, making headlines wih his expressed displeasure. Zidane explained he had taken the decision to replace the striker in order to rest him.
Ronaldo has not been playing well and still looks to be physically below par following the knee injury he suffered in the European Championships.
Madrid are without defensive Casimiro for the next month and the loss of their only specialist defensive midfielder could be felt against Dortmund, who will look to exploit his absence. The loss of left back Marcelo with a calf injury also denies Madrid an attacking outlet down the left wing.
There were timid warning bells for Madrid over the weekend, defeat in Dortmund would see the pressure increase on the team.
Tuesday also sees Sevilla entertain Olympique Lyon at their Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in the wake of their first league defeat of the season, 1-3 away to Athletic Club Bilbao.
Coach Jorge Sampaoli has said he wants to see an improvement on that performance and will make changes with players such as Luciano Vietto, Stephan N’ Zonzi and Vitolo likely to return to the starting team.
Sevilla claimed a creditable draw away to Juventus in their opening group game and a win at home to Lyon would be an important step towards reaching the last 16 in a competition they failed to progress in from the group stage last season.