Borussia Dortmund could clinch a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday with a win at Real Madrid.
The German champions have been as entertaining as any side in the competition this season and were good value for their 2-1 win over the Spanish champions at home in the last round of Group D games.
And despite their struggles in the Bundesliga, Jurgen Klopp’s side can all but knock out English champions Manchester City and Ajax from the ‘group of death’ if they can return home with three points from the Bernabeu.
Dortmund’s medical staff are hurriedly constructing a mask to protect a broken nose captain Sebastian Kehl’s suffered in the side’s goalless draw with Stuttgart on Saturday while Jose Mourinho’s Real could have Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira back in the squad.
The side warmed up for Tuesday’s clash with Dortmund with a 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza in La Liga and Mourinho expects at least Alonso to come back into the starting side.
Khedira is less likely to play and missed the Zaragoza clash having strained his leg almost a fortnight ago against Dortmund.
Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City need a win to keep any feint hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive and the Italian has stressed the need for more goals after a string of sub-par performances.
Dortmund lead the group with seven points, Real Madrid are on six, Ajax are on three while City have had a horror European campaign to date and hold up the group with one point.
City were poor and utterly outclassed in a 3-1 defeat to Ajax in Amsterdam in the last round of fixtures and will now need a small miracle to advance.
With three games to go, another loss at the Etihad Stadium to Ajax could mean an early exit for Mancini’s tottering side if Real or Dortmund manage to pick up all three points.
City may well be without England internationals James Milner and Joleon Lescott and were easily held at bay by West Ham in a goalless draw at Upton Park on Saturday – the first match in seven months the Premier League champions had failed to score.