Real v Atletico preview

Real will be without Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale??and??playmaker Luka Modric??for the tie, which will intensify pressure on talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez to lead them through.

Modric and Bale will miss out after limping off with knee and calf injuries respectively in the 3-1 win over Malaga at the weekend, whilst Marcelo is suspended and Benzema has been ruled out due to a knee ligament injury.

By contrast, Atletico have a clean bill of health with striker Mario Mandzukic expected to shake off an ongoing ankle problem to start alongside the in-form Antoine Griezmann up front.

Diego Simeone’s men remain the underdogs in just their second Champions League quarter-final in 18 years, but midfielder Raul Garcia refuted the suggestion they have less to lose than the holders.

“I don’t think we have less pressure. It is the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the two teams want to go through.

“Time will give more value to what we are achieving. Now it seems normal to be in the quarter-finals, to get to the semis would be very important.”

Real midfielder James Rodriguez expects a tough second leg clash against their city rivals on Wednesday night.

“We have to show intensity, be completely focused, play well, (we must) all stick together. I think that if we do that we’ll come away with an excellent result,” Rodriguez??told the club’s official website.

“We are all dreaming of getting through this round, and if I can score too that would be great. What is important is winning and getting through this tough match, which is going to be difficult, but we are at our home stadium and in front of our fans. I think it could be a great match.”

Rodriguez added: “Atletico are an intense team who are good at the back and are a unit. There’s always pressure here. You have to know how to handle it. We are going to give everything to be able to win La Undecima.”

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