A repeat of Real’s weekend comeback would suffice
Tonight’s huge Champions League semi-final decider between Real Madrid and Juventus offers up Carlo Ancelotti’s side the chance to repeat their weekend heroics by overcoming the a 2-1 deficit when the Serie A side visit the Bernabeu tonight. Real had to come from 2-0 down against Valencia on Saturday to secure a 2-2 draw thanks to second-half goals from Pepe and Isco. Heading into tonight’s tie a goal behind, a similar approach would offer Ancelotti’s side the chance to make it to the final of Europe’s elite competition for the second season in a row as they continue their campaign to retain the Champions League.
Pogba could make a real difference
Juventus head into tonights tie a goal up and with star player Paul Pogba fully fit and ready to return. Juve’s French midfielder has been sidelined for two months with a hamstring injury but is reported to be back in contention for his side’s push for Champions League success. Pogba’s first game back for the Serie A champions came on Saturday when the young midfielder scored in Juve’s 1-1 draw with Cagliari. With Madrid’s Toni Kroos back in contention and in the line-up for tonight, Pogba’s inclusion will prove invaluable for Juve.
Ronaldo needs to shake off the weekend’s miss
Cristiano Ronaldo is not a man synonymous with confidence issues, however after his sides narrow 2-2 draw over the weekend, in which Ronaldo himself missed a penalty that could have won the game for Madrid, the Ballon d’or will need to shake off his frustrations as he looks to guide his side to back-to-back Champions League success. Not often a player who lets the occasion get the better of him, Ronaldo has looked a frustrated figure of late but will need to put any apparent personal or professional problems to one side as he prepares for a truly crucial game.
Benzema’s return could be the difference
Following a month on the sidelines, Madrid’s French striker Kerim Benzema looks set to return to the Real Madrid starting line-up just in time for tonight’s huge tie. Although many will believe that since his injury, fellow striker Chicharito has done enough to warrant a start in tonight’s tie, Ancelotti looks likely to turn to his first-choice forward Benzema as his side look to reverse a 2-1 deficit. Benzema was crucial to Madrid’s season prior to his injury and could again prove to be the catalyst as Madrid goes in search of not only a win but also goals.
A draw is unlikely
Of the many possible outcomes in tonight’s huge Champions League semi-final second leg, a draw doesn’t seem likely. Both sides share equally impressive records in the history of this tie with Juventus winning three of four Champions League knock-out ties against Madrid, Real’s only win coming in the 1998 final. Real Madrid on the other hand have won four of five knockout games against Juventus at tonight’s venue, the Bernabeu although four of those wins had come in the first leg of the tie. Throughout their history however, in the many times these European giants have met at tonight’s venue in Madrid, there has never been a draw. With Juve a goal up and with Madrid already holding a crucial away goal, it doesn’t seem likely that tonight will buck the trend of a winner leaving the Bernabeu at full-time.