Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur pay a visit to the Santiago Bernabeu to take on UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid in what promises to be an end-to-end encounter on Tuesday night.
Los Blancos haven’t made the best of starts to their La Liga title defence but in Europe, the 12-time winners have oozed class and have won both their games without any fuss.
Spurs, somewhat surprisingly, beat Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund at Wembley and followed it up with an away win at Apoel Nicosia to emerge as serious contenders to top Group H.
However, Real are a club that is synonymous with the Champions League and despite Spurs’ tag of being feisty travellers, a home win is the likely scenario come full-time on Tuesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s been on fire in Europe, scoring four times in two games and will be Real’s main man once again. He got off the mark in the La Liga on the weekend as well to give Real a much-needed win at Getafe.
Zinedine Zidane’s men have won their past four games on the trot and will look to seal their fifth in all competitions against Mauricio Pochettino’s vibrant side.
Comparatively, their opponents are newbies to the continental competition and the hosts will hope the Santiago Bernabeu aids them as they seek to take advantage of Spurs’ relative inexperience.
Real’s defence will be tasked with keeping an eye on a man that is rumoured to be a long-term target for the club: Harry Kane. The English striker is in fine form and shackling him will be paramount as Real seek to keep their 100 per cent intact.
Talking Corner: Tottenham have really strengthened as a club. They have invested heavily and the team is ready to compete for the Premier League title-Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric (www.realmadrid.com)
Injury concerns: Mateo Kovacic (thigh), Gareth Bale (calf), Keylor Navas (groin) and Dani Carvajal (heart).
Suspension Alert: None
Are Spurs all about Harry Kane? Of course not, as they have the superlative talents of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli (suspended for this tie) to count upon as well.
However, the striker accounts for a large chunk of their goals and if his purple patch is to continue, the Spurs midfield will have to keep supplying him with ammunition.
It won’t be easy, however, for former midfielder Luka Modric will be running the strings for the Spanish side and while Gareth Bale may or may not feature, Real have more than enough quality in every department.
While Ronaldo is Real’s main threat, focusing too much on him can be fatal for the likes of Isco and Marco Asensio who are ripping it up at the moment and can turn a game on its head if afforded time and space.
Talking Corner: It’s going to be an exciting game which everyone is looking forward to. We’ve got confidence going into it so there’s no reason why we can’t go there, put on a good performance and do well-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks (www.tottenhamhotspur.com)
Injury concerns: Erik Lamela (hip), Danny Rose (knee) and Victor Wanyama (knee).
Suspension Alert: Dele Alli