Photo: Real Madrid
Real Madrid has the chance to virtually guarantee itself a berth in the knockout phase of the Champions League when it hosts a struggling Juventus, which has stumbled to two draws in its first two matches of this season’s competition.
Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti, who managed Juventus from 1999 to 2001, will have all of his men at his disposal for Wednesday’s game with the exception of Xabi Alonso, who is expected to return to the squad shortly.
Iker Casillas will be back in goal, as Ancelotti continues to use Diego Lopez in Spanish-league play and Casillas for European competitions.
Central defender Raphael Varane and striker Karim Benzema will both be back in action after recovering from knee and calf injuries, respectively.
Juventus, meanwhile, comes into Wednesday’s match struggling not only in the Champions League but also in Italian-league play, having blown a two-goal lead in a demoralizing 4-2 loss to Fiorentina on Sunday.
Los Blancos lead Group B of the Champions League with six points, while Juventus has two points and Turkey’s Galatasaray and Copenhagen both have one point heading into the third of six round-robin matches.
After Wednesday’s match at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Real Madrid will take on Juve in Turin on Nov. 5.